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Found 125 results
  1. News Article
    Black and Asian women are being harmed by racial discrimination in maternity care, according to an inquiry. The year-long investigation into "racial injustice" was conducted by the charity Birthrights. Women reported feeling unsafe, being denied pain relief, facing racial stereotyping about their pain tolerance, and microaggressions. The government has set up a taskforce to tackle racial disparities in maternity care. Hiral Varsani says she was traumatised by her treatment during the birth of her first child. The 31-year-old from north London developed sepsis - a potentially life-threatening reaction to an infection - after her labour was induced, which she says was only spotted after a long delay. "I was shivering, my whole body was aching, my heart was beating really fast and I felt terrible. But everyone kept saying everything was normal," she says. "It was almost 24 hours later before a doctor took my bloods for the first time and realised I was seriously ill." She believes her race played a role in her care: "I experienced microaggressions and was stereotyped because of the colour of my skin. "I was repeatedly ignored, they just thought I was a weak little Indian girl, who was unable to take pain." While death in pregnancy or childbirth is very rare in the UK, there are stark racial disparities in maternal mortality rates. Black women are more than four times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than white women in the UK, while women from Asian backgrounds face almost twice the risk. Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 May 2022
  2. News Article
    GPs face “appalling and systemic” racism from patients and colleagues, a leaked NHS report has revealed. The first Health Education England report for London of its kind says racism and discrimination are widespread within primary care across the capital, and GPs in other parts of the country have raised similar concerns. Doctors speaking with The Independent have told stories of being called derogatory and racist names, of staff leaving due to the bigotry they’ve faced, and of patients asking to see a “white” or “English” GP. Senior GPs have warned patients will ultimately suffer as a result, as experienced doctors leave practices to avoid such abuse. Professor Simon Gregory, deputy medical director for Health Education England, said: “There is considerable evidence that the UK is systemically racist, and that the NHS is a systemically racist workplace. “This report is shocking evidence of terrible, indeed appalling, levels of discrimination across protected characteristics and with much intersectionality, but especially shocking levels of racial discrimination.” “The awful and painful narratives of so many colleagues over so many years cannot be ignored but thanks to London’s primary care educational leaders we now have firm evidence. Evidence that cannot be ignored.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 4 May 2022
  3. News Article
    The General Medical Council (GMC) has achieved marginal improvements against its targets to reduce racial inequalities, it said in an annual update on the programme. However, BAME doctor representatives as well as the GMC itself said the progress was not sufficient against the targets which the regulator had set itself last year. These included stopping disproportionate complaints from employers about ethnic minority doctors by 2026, and getting rid of disadvantage and discrimination in medical education and training by 2031. According to the update, the gap between employer referral rates for ethnic minority doctors and international medical graduates, compared to white doctors, has marginally reduced. The report also acknowledged the judgment by an employment tribunal in June last year, which found that the GMC had discriminated against a doctor based on his race. Reading Employment Tribunal upheld a complaint that Dr Omer Karim, who previously worked as a consultant urologist in Slough, had been discriminated against during an investigation by the GMC, after the body dismissed charges against a white doctor accused of the same conduct. The GMC has appealed the verdict but is still waiting for the appeal to be heard. Read full story Source: Pulse, 10 March 2022
  4. News Article
    The NHS has been accused of “shocking and systemic” racism during the pandemic as black healthcare workers say they were given poor PPE and pushed into the Covid frontline first. Hundreds of black and brown healthcare staff across the UK have spoken to academics at Sheffield Hallam University about their experiences of racism during the pandemic. The accounts raised issues of racism within the health service which led to black and brown nurses and midwives being put at greater risk than their white colleagues, due to poorer PPE, training, workload and shift patterns. Rosalie Sanni-Ajose, a senior theatre practitioner, who worked across multiple London NHS hospitals through an agency called Yourworld told The Independent: “During the pandemic, we found that most of us (black agency nurses) have been placed in ITU to look after Covid patients are on a Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or the ventilator." “Then when I work in A&E, they divided areas into sections - green area, red area, and the normal areas. So some of the ethnic minority staff were then put in the red areas all the time. Further some of us, we have comorbidities like asthma, or diabetes, or have an exemption that has been clearly stated they not allowed to work there.” Through its research, which involved 350 black and brown nurses, midwives and healthcare staff across the UK, Sheffield Hallam University found 77% of respondents said they’d been treated unfairly when they challenged racism. Just over 50% of the respondents said they’d experienced unfair treatment in the pandemic in relation to Covid deployment, PPE or risk assessment. One third have left their job as a result of racism, while more than half have experienced poor mental health due to the racism they experienced. The academic team, lead by Professor Anandi Ramamurthy said the healthcare professionals’ reports reveal “a story of systematic neglect and harassment which predates the pandemic.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 5 March 2022
  5. News Article
    Pregnancy-related deaths among US mothers climbed higher in the pandemic’s first year, continuing a decades-long trend that disproportionately affects Black people, according to a new government report. Overall in 2020, there were almost 24 deaths per 100,000 births, or 861 deaths total, numbers that reflect mothers dying during pregnancy, childbirth or the year after. The rate was 20 per 100,000 in 2019. Among Black people, there were 55 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, almost triple the rate for white people. The report from the National Center for Health Statistics does not include reasons for the trend and researchers said they have not fully examined how Covid-19, which increases risks for severe illness in pregnancy, might have contributed. The coronavirus could have had an indirect effect. Many people put off medical care early in the pandemic for fear of catching the virus, and virus surges strained the healthcare system, which could have had an impact on pregnancy-related deaths, said Eugene Declercq, a professor and maternal death researcher at Boston University School of Public Health. He called the high rates “terrible news” and noted that the US has continually fared worse in maternal mortality than many other developed countries. Reasons for those disparities are not included in the data, but experts have blamed many factors including differences in rates of underlying health conditions, poor access to quality healthcare and structural racism. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 23 February 2022
  6. News Article
    A taskforce has been set up to tackle disparities in maternity care experienced by women belonging to ethnic minorities and those living in deprived areas. Black women are 40% more likely to miscarry than white, studies suggest. Maternal death rates are also higher among black and Asian women. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists head Dr Edward Morris told BBC News implicit racial bias was affecting some women's care. Patient Safety and Primary Care Minister Maria Caulfield said: "For too long disparities have persisted which mean women living in deprived areas or from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to get the care they need and, worse, lose their child. "We must do better to understand and address the causes of this. "The Maternity Disparities Taskforce will help level-up maternity care across the country, bringing together a wide range of experts to deliver real and ambitious change so we can improve care for all women - and I will be monitoring progress closely." Chief midwifery officer Prof Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, who will co-chair the taskforce, said: "The NHS's ambition is to be the safest place in the world to be pregnant, give birth and transition into parenthood - all women who use our maternity services should receive the best care possible." The taskforce will meet every two months and focus on: improving personalised care and support plans addressing how wider societal issues affect maternal health improving education and awareness of health when trying to conceive, such as taking supplements and maintaining a healthy weight increasing access to maternity care for all women and developing targeted support for those from the most vulnerable groups empowering women to make evidence-based decisions about their care. Read full story Source: BBC News, 23 February 2022 Source: BBC News,
  7. News Article
    A nurse who was racially abused at work has urged Health Minister Robin Swann to take action on racism towards healthcare staff. Beverly Simpson, a nurse for more than 25 years, said she was subjected to hours of abuse while working last weekend. The incident at the weekend took place in a private healthcare setting, Ms Simpson told BBC Radio Foyle. She said she was called racist slurs by a patient for several hours. "I want to do nursing, I have always been a nurse," she said. "I never realised that I would be placed in such a vulnerable position and I actually question myself if I should walk away." Ms Simpson said she wanted to speak publicly to make sure "any other nurse from a black or minority ethic group did not feel alone". "There is abuse going on, it's something that is happening," she said. "I felt, for the first time in a long while, about quitting. I asked myself: 'What is the point?' "I understand that when people are sick their defences may be down, they're more vulnerable and they may say things they shouldn't, but there was a nastiness to it." In a statement, the Department of Health said racism was not something that any colleague in Health and Social Care (HSC) should have to endure. "We want to send a clear message, from the very top of our health and social care system, that such behaviour is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," the department said. "We fully recognise and respect the hard work, commitment and dedication of HSC staff from within the BAME [black, Asian and minority ethnic] community." Read full story Source: BBC News, 6 September 2022
  8. News Article
    Internal documents show significant evidence of bullying and discrimination within NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) which dates back at least eight years, when the organisation was led by the current chief executive of the Care Quality Commission. HSJ has seen a report which detailed major tensions and dysfunction at NHSBT’s Colindale site in north London in 2016, four years before another report found similar problems. Given the damning findings of the second report, in 2020 – which found a “toxic environment”, multiple accounts of bullying, and “systemic racism” at the same site – it raises questions around the actions taken by NHSBT’s former leaders, including current CQC boss Ian Trenholm, to address the issues raised in the 2016 report. The 2016 report was commissioned by the manufacturing directorate and concluded the hospital services department at the Colindale site was “dysfunctional” after a highly contentious reorganisation of some services and teams. It noted “a series of bullying and harassment incidents” were being reported, but which staff felt were not investigated appropriately, and claims of “discriminatory practice” by managers. Read full story Source: HSJ, 26 August 2022
  9. News Article
    A black NHS worker has launched legal action against the health service’s blood and transplant authority after witnessing years of alleged racism within the service. Melissa Thermidor, 40, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, has lodged an employment tribunal claim against NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and two executives who have since left the authority. Betsy Bassis and Millie Banerjee, who were the chief executive and chairwoman, have denied the allegations and intend to fight the tribunal claims. One colleague allegedly said: “White donors are more likely to shop at Waitrose and black donors at Tesco.” At subsequent meetings, the phrase “Tesco donors” was used. Staff also allegedly referred to “you people” when speaking to black members of the team. Thermidor claims she was constructively dismissed after whistleblowing about racism within NHSBT. The health authority, which supported 3,386 organ donations in the year to March last year as well as collecting blood from 761,000 donors, has been embroiled in allegations of bullying, racism and poor culture under Bassis and Banerjee’s leadership. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 21 August 2022 Read NHS Blood and Transplant's response to the article.
  10. News Article
    Bullying and harassment allegations made against leaders of the organisation that supplies blood to the NHS have prompted a Care Quality Commission (CQC) review, with staff claiming poor culture has exacerbated the crisis around low blood stocks. HSJ has learned whistleblowers at NHS Blood and Transplant raised concerns with the CQC. As a result, the regulator has been carrying out a review of the organisation’s leadership. Several current and former staff, who wished to remain anonymous, told HSJ there are widespread concerns about the organisation’s culture, which they claim has enabled bullying and harassment from senior employees, including some racist behaviours. They said the culture has resulted in a significant number of staff being absent due to stress and anxiety, which alongside the latest wave of coronavirus, has contributed to an ongoing staffing crisis. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 28 July 2022
  11. News Article
    A quarter of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) non-executive directors of NHS trusts have seen or experienced discrimination in the course of their work, a report reveals. While almost four out of five (79%) of these BAME non-executives said they challenged such behaviour when they encountered it, only half (50%) said that led to a change of policy or behaviour. The other half felt they had been ‘fobbed off’ or subjected to actively hostile behaviour for having spoken up,” says a report commissioned by the Seacole Group, which represents most of the BAME non-executive board members of NHS trusts in England. It adds: “This level of discrimination is unacceptable anywhere and even more so in the boardrooms of NHS organisations. Too many Black, Asian and other ethnic NEDs (non-executive directors) are being subjected to it and left to deal with it on their own.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 July 2022
  12. News Article
    Just over half of senior ethnic minority leaders have considered leaving the NHS due to experiencing workplace racism a survey suggests. The survey was carried out by the NHS Confederation’s BME Leadership Network and its 123 respondents included chief executives, directors and senior managers. Responses were collected from network members online before three roundtables were held with senior ethnic minority leaders to understand their experiences and the challenges they have faced in relation to discrimination. The survey found: 51% of respondents said they had considered leaving the NHS in the past three years because of their experience of racist treatment while working. More than 20% said they had experienced verbal abuse or abusive behaviour targeting racial, national or cultural heritage five times or more in the last three years. 69% had experienced this behaviour from other leaders or managers within their organisation at least once in the same timeframe. 57% had experienced it from leaders or managers in another organisation at least once over the same period. Joan Saddler, NHS Confederation’s director of equality and partnerships, said the NHS was at risk of losing “committed, highly skilled and motivated talent to institutional racism and discrimination”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 17 June 2022 You may also be interested in reading: BMA: Racism in medicine
  13. News Article
    The NHS is facing a major exodus of doctors of ethnic minority backgrounds due to persistent levels of racism faced at a personal and institutional level, a ground breaking study has revealed. Nearly one third of doctors surveyed have considered leaving the NHS or have already left within the past two years due to race discrimination, with 42 per cent of Black and 41 per cent Asian doctors in particular having considered leaving or having left. The survey paints a picture of institutional barriers to career progression, dangerously low levels of reporting of racist incidents and a growing mental health burden on ethnic minority doctors. With more than 2,000 responses from doctors and medical students across the UK, the BMA – a professional association representing all doctors in the UK – believes that this survey is one of the largest of its kind to document the experience of racism in the medical profession and workplace. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, said: “The NHS was built on the principle of equality of care for patients whoever they are, but this report shows that the NHS is shamefully failing in this principle for its own doctors, with those from ethnic minorities reporting alarming levels of unfair treatment and racial inequality at work. Read full story Source: The Independent, 15 June 2022
  14. News Article
    A third of Black and ethnic minority health staff have suffered racism or bullying as the NHS fails to address “systemic” levels of discrimination, The Independent can reveal. Levels of bullying and harassment of minority workers have not improved in the past five years with almost 30% saying they have been targeted in the past year, compared to 20%of white staff. Despite being one-quarter of the workforce, minority ethnic staff make up just 10% of the most senior positions, the NHS’s flagship report is set to reveal. One nurse told The Independent she was forced to leave her job following a campaign of bullying, while another, who has left for the private sector, said her mental health was hugely impacted by the discrimination she experienced. Another nurse said she was left “traumatised” by bullying and harassment and she was “gaslighted” by her employer. “This incident is going to affect me for the rest of my life … when I first joined [the NHS trust] I thought I was going to retire there but ... my career [has been cut] short and it’s not fair,” she said. Equality for Black Nurses, a membership organisation founded by Neomi Bennett in 2020, has launched 200 cases of alleged racism against a number of NHS trusts since it was set up. “Racism is driving nurses out of the NHS,” Ms Bennett, told The Independent, warning that this issue had reached “pandemic levels”. Read full story Source: The Independent, 24 January 2023
  15. News Article
    Ministers must use legislation to address an “unacceptable and inexcusable” failure to address racial disparity in the use of the Mental Health Act (MHA), MPs and peers have said. The joint committee on the draft mental health bill says the bill does not go far enough to tackle failures that were identified in a landmark independent review five years ago, but which still persist and may even be getting worse. The committee says the landmark 2018 review of the MHA by Prof Simon Wessely – which the bill is a response to – was intended to address racial and ethnic inequalities, but that those problems have not improved since then “and, on some key metrics, are getting rapidly worse”. Lady Buscombe, the committee chair, said: “We believe stronger measures are needed to bring about change, in particular to tackle racial disparity in the use of the MHA. The failure to date is unacceptable and inexcusable. “The government should strengthen its proposal on advanced choice and give patients a statutory right to request an advance choice document setting out their preferences for future care and treatment, thereby strengthening both patient choice and their voice.” A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are taking action to address the unequal treatment of people from Black and other ethnic minority backgrounds with mental illness – including by tightening the criteria under which people can be detained and subject to community treatment orders. “The government will now review the committee’s recommendations and respond in due course.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 19 January 2023
  16. News Article
    Mental health trusts will be expected to appoint a board member responsible for improving racial equality and to develop individual plans to eliminate systemic racism, according to new draft NHS England guidance seen by HSJ. The draft guidance says all providers will be required to draw up their own Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework by March 2024. These blueprints will outline how trusts plan to improve access, experience and outcomes for racialised communities, covering all services from talking therapies through to secure inpatient services. PCREFs were a key recommendation in the 2018 Mental Health Act review which identified disproportionate applications of the act in racialised groups and are part of NHSE’s wider mental health equalities strategy. Black people are 10 times more likely to receive a community treatment order after being an inpatient and their rate of detention under the act is four times as high as the rate for white people. The guidance follows HSJ last month revealing the “staggering” rise in restraints of black people in NHS care. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 5 January 2023
  17. Content Article
    This article by the Betsy Lehman Center in Massachusetts draws attention to research by ECRI, a US non-profit research and risk management firm, which shows that efforts to address racial inequalities in medical care need to include an examination of the way in which patient safety events are reported. Research by ECRI shows that existing patient safety reporting systems may be undercounting events experienced by patients who are Black , Latino or from other ethnic groups. It also highlights that racial, ethnic and other demographic data about patients is missing in adverse event reports from most US healthcare organisations.
  18. Content Article
    Racism, xenophobia, and discrimination exist in every modern society causing avoidable disease and premature death among groups who are often already disadvantaged. This Lancet series examines how the historic systems and structures of power and oppression, and discriminatory ideologies have shaped policy and practice today, and are root causes of racial health inequities. Furthermore, by applying a global lens and intersectional framework, overlapping forms of oppression such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status and their impact on discrimination are analysed. Interventions to address the spectrum of drivers of adverse health outcomes with a focus on the structural, societal, legal, human right, institutional and system level are reviewed. Research recommendations and key approaches for moving forward are proposed.
  19. News Article
    Regulators have told the agency that supplies blood to the NHS to develop a more inclusive culture, after hearing multiple reports of ethnic minority staff being ‘disrespected’ and discriminated against. “Many staff” at NHS Blood and Transplant also expressed fear of reprisal for raising issues and concerns, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said. The CQC carried out a “well-led” inspection of the agency over the summer, after receiving concerns about its culture and the behaviour of some senior leaders. Chief executive Betsy Bassis resigned after the inspection, although the CQC report does not refer to any specific allegations made against her. NHSBT has acknowledged it needs to improve its culture, particularly around diversity and inclusion issues. An internal memo sent to staff last week, seen by HSJ, said executives and board members would receive one-to-one training in “inclusive leadership and understanding racism”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 27 October 2022
  20. News Article
    The troubled agency that supplies blood to the NHS has a ’very serious problem’ with racism, a staff survey has revealed. Six hundred staff at NHS Blood and Transplant were surveyed and the results have been summarised in an internal memo, seen by HSJ. It said 55% of respondents felt the problem of racism at NHSBT is “extremely or very serious”, while half had little confidence in the organisation’s recent efforts to tackle racial inequality. When contacted for comment, a NHSBT spokeswoman said the results were “difficult to read” and added that “we are deeply sorry to those who have experienced negative behaviour”. The issues over race and leadership come at perhaps the most operationally challenging period in NHSBT’s history. It is struggling to find enough staff for its donation clinics, which meant it issued its first-ever “amber alert” over blood supplies recently. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 21 October 2022
  21. News Article
    A nurse has told how she almost quit her job this month after a patient shouted out racist slurs for hours on a recent night shift. Beverly Simpson, who works as a nurse in a care home in Derry, Northern Ireland, said she was left angry and broken after a patient repeatedly used derogatory racist language and told her ‘to go back to her own country’. Ms Simpson reported the incident on 4 September to managers, who are now investigating. In the meantime, she has called on all employers and peers to do more to protect staff from racism that she says she encounters every week. "I have been a nurse for almost 30 years, but that night made me feel like I wanted to quit,’ she told Nursing Standard. ‘I was just worn down with it all. I’m human, I am hurt, but I still have to go back and treat this patient, be professional and hold my head up high." "It’s all very well a black nurse standing up and saying it is wrong, but we need allies. There needs to be training and protocols on what to do in these situations. Instead, there is a blanket of silence." Read full story Source: Nursing Standard, 28 September 2022
  22. News Article
    Following the blistering verdict last week of the independent review into the General Medical Council's (GMC) handling of the notorious 'laptop' case, which highlighted the "worrying trend" of ethnic minority doctors facing disproportionate regulatory action, the GMC has launched a new resource 'hub' to support doctors facing racism at work. A new dedicated area on the GMC website offers advice on how to address racism in the workplace, and sits alongside its existing dedicated whistleblowing webpage as the latest of 12 areas in an 'ethical hub' that brings together resources on how to apply GMC guidance in practice, focussing on areas doctors often query or find most challenging, and helping to address important ethical issues. Announcing the launch, the GMC said: "Tackling discrimination and inequality continues to be an urgent priority for health services." It added: "The GMC has committed to working with organisations to drive forward change, setting targets on tackling inequality." Its equality, diversity, and inclusion targets set last year aimed, inter alia, "to eliminate disproportionate complaints from employers about ethnic minority doctors, by 2026, and to eradicate disadvantage and discrimination in medical education and training by 2031". In March this year it published its first progress report, which showed that the gap between employer referral rates for ethnic minority doctors and international medical graduates, compared with white doctors, had "reduced slightly". Read full story Source: Medscape UK, 15 November 2022
  23. News Article
    Almost two-thirds of black Britons think the NHS does less to protect their health than that of white people, research has found. That negative view of the health service is shared by a majority of black people of almost all ages, and is held especially strongly by black women, according to findings of a study commissioned by a parliamentary committee. Overall, 64% of black people do not believe that their health is as protected by the NHS compared with white people’s. When asked if they thought it was, 34.3% disagreed and another 29.6% disagreed strongly, while just 19.9% agreed and a further 2.4% agreed strongly. The survey was commissioned by MPs and peers on the joint committee on human rights as part of its inquiry into black people, racism and human rights in the UK. The report will be published and debated with the authors at an evidence session today. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 September 2020
  24. News Article
    A major British medical school is leading the drive to eliminate what it calls "inherent racism" in the way doctors are trained in the UK. The University of Bristol Medical School says urgent action is needed to examine why teaching predominantly focuses on how illnesses affect white people above all other sections of the population. It comes after students pushed for reform, saying gaps in their training left them ill-prepared to treat ethnic minority patients – potentially compromising patient safety. Hundreds of other UK medical students have signed petitions demanding teaching that better reflects the diversity of the country. The Medical School Council (led by the heads of UK medical schools) and the regulator, the General Medical Council, say they are putting plans in place to improve the situation. A number of diseases manifest differently depending on skin tone, but too little attention is given to this in training, according to Dr Joseph Hartland, who is helping to lead changes at the University of Bristol Medical School. "Historically medical education was designed and written by white middle-class men, and so there is an inherent racism in medicine that means it exists to serve white patients above all others," he said . "When patients are short of breath, for example, students are often taught to look out for a constellation of signs – including a blue tinge to the lips or fingertips – to help judge how severely ill someone is, but these signs can look different on darker skin." "Essentially we are teaching students how to recognise a life-or-death clinical sign largely in white people, and not acknowledging these differences may be dangerous," said Dr Hartland. Read full story Source: BBC News, 17 August 2020
  25. News Article
    Incoming Health Education England chief executive Navina Evans said the momentum created by the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement meant there was now increased “pressure on white leaders” to act on racism and discrimination in the service. Dr Evans praised a letter written by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust chief executive Roisin Fallon-Williams, in which she admitted to being “culpable” and “complicit” in failing to fully understand the inequality and discrimination faced by people with black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds. “That was great to see, and as you can see from the reactions to her letter people were really, really pleased to have it acknowledged,” she said. However, Dr Evans added: “As well as that [acknowledgement] there needs to be action”. Read full story Source: HSJ, 22 June 2020
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