The English ambulance service has pledged its commitment to NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).
This forms part of what bosses have described as a renewed effort to address racial inequality.
The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), which represents all ten English NHS ambulance trusts, partners and associate members from devolved nations, has committed ambulance services in the country to this important social principle.
Each trust will now focus on four WRES indicators, as part of the NHS standard contract.
The AACE has stated that it will address short, medium and long-term goals, in an attempt to both recruit more ethnic minorities, and address existing issues in workplaces.
Abuse and harassment, and bullying from patients and members of the public, will both be prioritised as part of this new initiative.
NHS England has already committed to investment of £2 million between 2015 and 17 n the WRES programme.
Central to this investment is the identification and sharing of best practice, this building on what Trusts are already doing to improve recruitment.
The ambulance service has also committed itself to improving ethnic minority representation on boards, and tackling the bullying of BME staff.
Part of this process will involve training and developing 75 champions based in trusts.
These credentialed individuals will help reduce inequality, spread best practice and improve patient care.
All NHS Commissioners and provider organisations, including those operating in the private sector, are required to implement and publish data on the WRES Standard.
This represents a summary of the gap between the treatment and experience of White and BME staff, against nine metrics; intended to help managers in the AACE better understand the problems that ethnic minority staff may face.
Commenting on the issue, Tracy Myhill, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service and the diversity and inclusion lead for the AACE, reflected to the value of this new scheme for both ethnic minorities and the service offered by the ambulance service in England.
“This is a watershed moment for ambulance services as we have made a joint and determined commitment to improve the experiences of our black and minority ethnic colleagues. Equality in our ranks does not only make us fair and attractive employers, but also excellent healthcare providers. We serve diverse communities and our workforce should reflect this.”
There is an increasingly large market for private and voluntary ambulance services in Britain, with the sector being worth £800 million to the UK economy in 2012.