Racism findings highlight need for urgent action

06 February 2024

Responding to a new report, Too hot to handle, which finds the health service is falling short in tackling race discrimination, Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"This report highlights the pressing need for systemic change in the NHS to address the impact of racism on ethnic minority staff, particularly those in lower pay bands.

"The experiences of racism shared are deeply distressing and must not be tolerated.

"Trust leaders are working hard to tackle racism in the NHS, but more must be done to ensure all staff feel empowered to speak up and are confident that their concerns will be acted on.

"Comprehensive onboarding and continued support for internationally recruited staff would help address disparities in reporting concerns. But it's not up to them to fix this.

"The Messenger review was clear that a targeted mid-career programme for managers is key to embedding collaborative leadership and organisational values. Mid-career management and HR teams must be better trained to respond to racism and discrimination to ensure they are dealing with concerns raised by ethnic minority staff properly.

"Trust leaders should develop anti-racism strategies that actively dismantle inequities within organisational culture, setting clear standards of behaviour with a focus on allyship to reduce the double burden on ethnic minority staff.

"Our Race Equality programme aims to change hearts and minds, improving the confidence and capability of trust leaders through emphasising good practice and embedding accountability at board level. Tangible action must trump tick-box exercises to drive real change promoting equity and inclusivity at every level of the NHS."