Medical Workers Walking through the Corridor

Record NHS diversity levels, new report finds

The health service’s workforce is the most diverse it has ever been, an annual race equality report has found.

The latest figures show that Black and minority ethnic (BME) staff account for 24.2% of the NHS’s overall workforce, which is the equivalent of 383,706 staff – an increase of 27,500 when the rate was at 22.4% in 2021.

The statistics also reveal that 42% of doctors, dentists and consultants, alongside 29.2% of nurses, midwives and health visitors are from BME backgrounds.

Moreover, whilst the data does indicate a boost in representation at board level, staff from BME backgrounds are still proportionally under-represented in senior positions, which is why, according to the health service, the Long Term Plan calls on NHS trusts to make their own senior BME representation goals.

The number of BME board members has increased across NHS trusts, going from 12.6% in 2021 to 13.2% last year – almost double the 7% rate it was at back in 2017.

NHS England’s Chief Executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “Figures from today’s Workforce Race Equality Standard report show the number of BME staff in very senior roles and on NHS boards continuing to go in the right direction, which evidence shows is not only better for staff, but for patients too.

“But we know there is still significant room for improvement to change the experience of BME staff, which is why we are continuing to support local NHS organisations to help them tackle race inequality – including setting local targets to ensure their senior leadership is fully representative.”

The leadership review that was published last year and conducted by General Sir Gordon Messenger and Dame Linda Pollard highlighted the importance of equality, diversity and inclusivity within leadership positions.

NHS England’s Chief Workforce Officer, Dr Navina Evans, added: “It is encouraging to see improvements in today’s report but it is also clear that there is still more work to do to improve the experience for our BME colleagues.

“As we create the new NHS England and redesign our approach to delivery, it will be essential to work alongside our system partners to maximise impact and create the change we all want to see.”

To read the full report, click here.

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