NHS Providers determined to follow through on anti-racism commitment

15 November 2022

NHS Providers is following through on its ambition to become an anti-racist organisation with the publication of an anti-racism statement.

The organisation, which represents every NHS hospital, mental health, community and ambulance service in England, has committed to lead by example in tackling racial inequality as a top priority.

The statement to members, staff, stakeholders and the wider community, marks an important step towards that goal, and is underpinned by an action plan setting out steps for progress along with measures of success.

It also complements NHS Providers' growing programme of support for trust boards to effectively identify and challenge race inequality as a core part of their business. Recent outputs have included our Race 2.0 report informed by member insight, 10 questions for boards, The Provider Podcast episode where we explored the importance of diversity in NHS leadership with ethnic minority leaders, and our In conversation with series, in which we speak to white leaders in the NHS about their personal journeys in allyship.

The statement, developed and supported by NHS Providers' staff team, includes five commitments:

The action plan which will put this statement into effect reflects four initial priorities:

Announcing the launch of the anti-racism statement at NHS Providers' annual conference and exhibition, the interim chief executive, Saffron Cordery, said:

"We have stepped up our work on anti-racism since the summer of 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, and the renewed sense of injustice that followed, combined with the racial health disparities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These events put race equality on the agenda of NHS boards as never before.

"They also prompted us to reflect on how racism affects us as an organisation, our staff and our members, and to consider how we can better lead by example.

"We know that we will benefit as an organisation and our work will improve if we build a more diverse leadership team and create an open culture in which we celebrate diverse perspectives in everything that we do.

"We know we should have started this process sooner, and we still have a lot to learn. But the anti-racism statement, action plan and programme of support for trust boards provide evidence of progress, and a determination to follow through on this key issue.

"We recognise too the importance of all protected characteristics when considering equality, diversity and inclusion issues.

"However the evidence on racial inequities in the NHS, for example on recruitment, disciplinary procedures, bullying, and representation at senior level, demands immediate and decisive action.

"Trust leaders also know the importance for recruitment and retention of investing in and supporting a diverse workforce, and that improving the staff experience will lead to a better experience and outcomes for patients.

"We have a unique opportunity at NHS Providers, working with members, to support the development of a truly anti-racist NHS. It is an opportunity we are determined to take."

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