A first of its kind report looking into race equality among England’s doctors has found that the number from black and ethnic minority backgrounds working for the NHS is the highest on record.
New data published as part of the inaugural Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard (MWRES) commissioned by NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens shows that last year more than 53,000 doctors working in the NHS were from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background, up by more than 9,000, a rise of around one-fifth, since 2017.
The change confirms the ever-increasing diversity of NHS staff – with 42% of medical staff working in the NHS now from a BME background.
However despite this rise in ethnic minority medical staff, BME doctors currently remain underrepresented in senior positions, including at consultant grade roles and in academic positions.
While the number of BME medical directors increased to 20.3% and the proportion of clinical directors is now above one quarter, both figures would need to be at 42% to be representative, one of the reasons that the NHS Long Term Plan has called on every NHS trust to set its own target on senior BME representation by 2022, to reflect their overall workforce.
BME doctors reported lower levels of bullying or abuse from patients and the public than did white doctors, but higher levels than white doctors of abuse and discrimination from other staff.
NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens said:
Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer for the NHS said:
The report also shows a need for medical schools and royal colleges to take steps in increasing diversity in the NHS.
BME students are less likely to attain a place in medical school than white students.
The report also calls for all Royal Colleges to publish a breakdown on the percentage of BME staff on their elected councils – with one Royal College having just 13% of their council from a BME background.
The report also found that BME doctors were more likely to be investigated by the General Medical Council after they were referred, or a complaint was received.
Professor Anton Emmanuel, Lead for the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) said: