Black and minority ethnic (BME) staff in three quarters of acute NHS trusts have reported instances of harassment, bullying or abuse from white colleagues, NHS England revealed in a report.
At the Trade Union Congress’ (TUC) Black Workers Conference from 7-9 April, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) put forward a motion for employers to provide training for workplace representatives so they have the skills and confidence to tackle all forms of racist bullying and harassment at work.
In its first report on the results of the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES), NHS England said 64% of BME members agreed with the statement ‘I trust my colleagues’ compared to 78% of white members. BME midwives were also said to be more likely to want to leave their job.
The RCM’s employment relations advisor Amy Leversidge said: ‘Bullying and harassment of anybody is unacceptable. It is also shocking that our BME colleagues suffer more bullying and harassment than their white colleagues.
‘It can have a profound impact on the mental and physical health of those that are bullied. It also has an effect on the care people are able to give. Bullying and harassment hurts those who face it, and it affects the quality of patient care. We all need to work together to eradicate this from our NHS.’
Research from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) showed that more BME nurses are referred to the NMC in the fitness to practice process. This led them to conclude BME staff are ‘unfairly’ disciplined more than their white colleagues.
The Royal College of Nursing’s director of membership relations Chris Cox said: ‘It’s clear that BME nurses and midwives experience severe and persistent disadvantage in the workplace at a point where the shortage of qualified health professionals becomes more acute.’
He called for ‘urgent, decisive and intelligent action’ on the part of employers to ‘robustly tackle any form of racism, bias and unfairness’ in their systems and processes.