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More BME nurses enter higher pay bands but discrimination continues

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4,187 BME nurses moved to pay bands 6-9 last year 4,187 BME nurses moved to pay bands 6-9 between 2014 and 2016

More black and minority ethnic (BME) nurses are taking up higher-paid positions in the NHS, but they continue to face discrimination according to a report from NHS England.

A second annual Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) report was published on 19 April containing data covering recruitment, promotion, career progression and staff development for the first time. Other parts of the report are based on data from 2016’s NHS staff survey, covering harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public.

It was revealed that the number of BME nurses in pay bands six to nine – the four highest bands, spanning wages up to almost £100,000 per annum – went up by 4,187 between 2014 and 2016.

Chief nursing officer for NHS England Jane Cummings said: ‘I am pleased that some hospitals and trusts are making steady progress and ensuring black and minority ethnic nurses and midwives are not discriminated against and are equally appointed to senior banding grades.

‘I am encouraged by the way in which NHS organisations are putting their minds to tackling the waste of talent that previous data has shown. There has been some marked improvement but more needs to be done.’

Despite perceived improvements, BME staff remain more likely to experience discrimination at work from colleagues and their managers, with the percentage of BME staff reporting they have personally experienced discrimination at work from staff only falling slightly from 15% in 2014 to 14% in 2015.

BME staff remain less likely than white staff to believe that their trust provides equal opportunities for career progression, but data indicated there were nine BME staff members appointed to ‘very senior’ positions in 2015-16, up 4% from previously.

Employment relations advisor for the Royal College of Midwives Amy Leversidge said: ‘While this report is welcome and some progress has been made, it paints a worrying and disappointing picture of the levels of discrimination in our NHS.

‘All the evidence shows that BME midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff in the NHS being treated less fairly than their white colleagues. There is clearly discrimination in the NHS towards BME staff and action is needed to tackle this.’

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I very much appreciate and welcome the changes in the promotion ladder for BME Nursing and Midwifery staff, this is long overdue as previous treatment in recruitment and selection negated the skills and expertise of these NHS specialist workers and denied promotion on merit to them.
I am pleased that changes are in progress to rectify this secretive bias and discrimination
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