Medical staff walking through a corridor

Major new report reveals extent of racial discrimination in the NHS

A new survey has revealed worrying evidence of racial discrimination across a range of public institutions, including the NHS.

The research was commissioned by the national civil rights organisation, Black Equity Organisation, and is the largest ever opinion poll of black people detailing their experiences of living in Britain.

Results from the survey revealed that 65% of black people had been discriminated against by healthcare professionals because of their ethnicity.

The report also revealed the lack of confidence people had that change was coming, with 60% of black respondents saying they didn’t see the changes necessary to address their experiences coming from the relevant institutions.

Black Equity Organisation say these figures are a “timely reminder of the lived experiences Black people in Britain and shine a light on the issues people from those communities continue to have to navigate in their everyday lives.”

Dame Vivian Hunt, BEO’s Chair of Trustees, said: “The key to change is identifying and recognising the reality of Black communities across the country. This research and our other report, ‘Brick Wall after Brick Wall,’ provides a clear picture of what Black communities experience daily and will help shape our work and campaigns moving forward.

“We will work in partnership with communities, businesses, grassroots organisations and allies to deliver systemic change that will ensure that experiences become a thing of the past.”

Racism has been at the forefront of conversations in the NHS recently – just last month, the Government launched a call for evidence to tackle racial and gender biases in medical devices.

In June, the Royal College of Nursing’s biennial employment survey revealed that white nurses were twice as likely to get promoted as some of their counterparts. The survey also found that black respondents were more likely to report physical abuse than any other ethnic background.

Speaking then, the Royal College of Nursing’s Diversity and Equalities Co-ordinator, Bruno Daniel, said: “The pandemic has shone a spotlight on structural racism in health and care services and we must seize this opportunity to stamp out this vile behaviour once and for all.

“The UK government and devolved administrations must properly acknowledge and address this problem and the devastating impact it has on Black and minority ethnic staff and patients.”

More information on the Black Equity Organisation’s survey is available here.

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