Medical students with paediatric doctor

NHS moves to tackle inequalities as it publishes first equality, diversity and inclusion improvement plan

NHS England has published its first ever equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) improvement plan in a bid to enhance patient experience and further support staff.

The new plan includes six ‘high impact actions’ to strike at the heart of inequalities and address the effects of discrimination and bias.

These are to:

  • Ensure chief executives, chairs and board members have specific and measurable EDI targets, for which they will be both individually and collectively responsible;
  • Embed fair and inclusive recruitment practices and talent management strategies which address under-representation;
  • Remove pay gaps via the development and implementation of a dedication improvement plan;
  • Tackle health inequalities within the workforce by also developing and executing a dedicated improvement plan;
  • Support staff recruited from overseas by delivering an extensive induction, onboarding and development initiative;
  • Foster an environment that eliminates the conditions in which bullying, discrimination harassment and violence occurs.

Some of these actions include the requirement to draw up talent management plans to improve the diversity of senior leaders; implement the Mend the Gap recommendations for medical staff; and ensure line managers and supervisors have regular wellbeing meetings with their staff.

The majority of the subobjectives, of which they are 20 in total, have a deadline of next March although some stretch as far as 2025.

Chief officer for workforce, training and education at NHS England, Dr Navina Evans, added that improving EDI is “everyone’s responsibility” and she has faith the health service’s leadership can make the necessary change.

NHS England say it will give trusts and integrated care boards guidance and assistance when implementing the plan.

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