From 1 April 2015 all NHS organisations are required to demonstrate through the nine point Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) metric how they are addressing race equality issues in a range of staffing areas. The move follows recent reports which have highlighted disparities in the number of BME people in senior leadership positions across the NHS, as well as lower levels of wellbeing amongst the BME population.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “The Five Year Forward View sets out a direction of travel for the NHS – much of which depends on the health service embracing innovation, engaging and respecting staff, and drawing on the immense talent in our workforce.
“We know that care is far more likely to meet the needs of all the patients we’re here to serve when NHS leadership is drawn from diverse communities across the country, and when all our frontline staff are themselves free from discrimination. These new mandatory standards will help NHS organisations to achieve these important goals.”
Roger Kline, Research Fellow at Middlesex University Business School, who led the development of the standard, said: “The evidence is clear that treating all healthcare staff fairly and with respect is good for patient care. When black and minority ethnic staff, who make up a large minority of nurses, doctors and other NHS staff, are treated fairly it improves patient experience and patient safety. The Workforce Race Equality Standard encourages, and where necessary requires, all NHS providers to treat all black and minority ethnic staff fairly and ensure their full talents are used. It is good news for patients and for staff that NHS organisations have adopted this ground breaking evidence-based approach”.