• Monday, November 28, 2022


One in three BAME staff in NHS mental health services face racist abuse, survey reveals

FILE PHOTO: NHS nurses protest against pay and working conditions outside the entrance to Downing Street on June 3, 2020 in London. (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A NEW survey has revealed that one in three (32.7 per cent) black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) workers in NHS mental health trusts have experienced abuse, reported The Guardian.

For BAME workers across the NHS, the rate is more than one in four (28.9 per cent.

According to an analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, minority staff have experienced harassment, bullying or attacks by patients, relatives or members of the public.

One in five (19.6 per cent) BAME staff in NHS mental health trusts experienced harassment, bullying or abuse at work from other colleagues. More than one in eight experienced abuse from their own managers, the report said.

The Guardian report added that hot tea had been thrown at BAME staff and one psychiatrist had been threatened with a knife.

In the wake of the survey, the college has urged to set up better processes in NHS trusts to record and understand data about bullying and harassment.

Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told the newspaper that the findings were deeply concerning.

“The evidence from multiple surveys proves that ethnic minority staff continue to suffer racism and discrimination. Despite the best efforts of some employers, there has been little change over the years,”Dr Lade Smith, presidential lead for race equality at the college, told The Guardian.

“Healthcare leaders must begin to tackle the insidious racism and discrimination that can take place in the workplace.”

Dr Ananta Dave, a medical director based in Lincoln, has said that patients and their families have often refused to accept that I was the doctor or that I was leading an assessment because of the colour of my skin and would ask to see a ‘real doctor’.

He added that he was once threatened with a knife, and needed to see a medical professional and have some therapy.

Across the NHS in England, more BAME staff have also reported experiencing discrimination and are less likely to feel their organisation provides equal opportunities compared with white employees, the survey revealed.

According to the report, 16.7 per cent of BAME staff reported that they had experienced discrimination at work from a manager, team leader or another colleague in the previous 12 months, up from 14.5 per cent in 2019. This compared with 6.2 per cent of white staff, up from 6 per cent in 2019.

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of BAME staff said their organisation provides equal opportunities, down from 71 per cent the previous year and 73 per cent in 2016.

While responding to the survey, NHS England’s chief people officer, Prerana Issar, has said that there is never an excuse for racism or any form of discrimination, and NHS organisations should continue to take action on the findings, to tackle discrimination.

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