THE NHS Race and Health Observatory, supported by three regulators, on Friday (28) urged healthcare leaders to ensure that policies and processes are fair, inclusive and in line with the 2010 Equality Act.
The Observatory along with Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Medical Council, and the Care Quality Commission have said in a statement that leaders should ensure that health and care staff are protected from racism, or any other form of discrimination, as they go about their vital work.
“It is essential that all healthcare employers ensure staff and patients are not discriminated against due to any form of racism, bias or prejudice. Racism within our society must be viewed as absolutely intolerable; it has devastating impacts upon lives and needs to be tackled head-on. The NHS Race and Health Observatory will work with the healthcare regulators, and all other parts of the wider healthcare system, to identify and tackle structural inequalities that lead to differential experience and outcome for our healthcare workforce, diverse communities and patients,” said Dr Habib Naqvi, director, NHS Race and Health Observatory.
“Britain will not be a successful, multicultural and forward-thinking country until it has equity at its core; and if we are to move towards achieving the promise of that ideal, we all must keep our own moral compass pointed in the right direction.”
The NHS Race and Health Observatory is an independent body hosted by the NHS Confederation and supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement. It provides evidenced recommendations with regards to long-standing health inequalities affecting ethnic minority patients and communities, including maternity and neonatal outcomes, mental health, data and digital access to healthcare – as well as the immediate challenges of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. www.nhsrho.org
“At the Nursing and Midwifery Council, we strongly believe there’s no place for racism in health and care, and as the regulator of almost 732,000 nursing and midwifery professionals, the NMC stands firmly together with our partners in being committed to tackling institutional discrimination in all its forms,” said Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, chief executive and rRegistrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council.
“The impact that racist and other discriminatory attitudes and behaviours has on people is devastating. That’s why the values of equality, diversity and human rights – that are fundamental in the delivery of person-centred care for everyone.
“We’re also determined to play our own significant part in becoming a better and fairer regulator by continuing with the second phase of our research into the differences experienced in referral rates of black and minority ethnic nurses, midwives and nursing associates. We’re committed to rooting out and addressing any unfairness in our own processes.”
Charlie Massey, chief executive and registrar, General Medical Council, said: “The GMC professional standards are clear – doctors must not unfairly discriminate against patients or colleagues. If doctors are aware of colleagues behaving in a way that does not meet the standards, we expect them to raise concerns or challenge them. Addressing entrenched bias and racial discrimination requires sustained focus and for healthcare regulators be aligned on this commitment.”
Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive, Care Quality Commission said: “As part of our Well Led domain we assess how organisations are performing on race equality across their workforce and if we find poor practice, it impacts on the rating we give. Where it is within our legal remit, we also take enforcement action to make sure providers of health and care services take action to improve.
“When we do not have legal powers to act ourselves on workforce equality in regulated services, we work with others to resolve issues and we welcome closer joint working on racism, bias and inequalities across all health and social care regulators.
“Everyone in health and social care has a role to play in ensuring that all colleagues can thrive in their workplaces and in tackling the inequalities in health and care that sadly still exist for some people. We would encourage anyone aware of racist or discriminatory behaviour to raise those concerns directly and with us via Give Feedback on Care.”