A critical publication has reached the public domain, with the NHS releasing its second annual report into race equality.
The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) report is based on data submitted by providers of NHS-funded care, including both the voluntary and private sectors.
Implementing the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) is a requirement for NHS commissioners and NHS provider organisations.
The NHS Equality and Diversity Council announced on 31st July 2014 that it had agreed action to ensure employees from black and minority ethnic backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.
Information included in the final report demonstrates how organisations throughout the NHS system are addressing inequality issues.
This year’s report includes data covering nine WRES indicators; a new provision in this second annual report.
These include four relating to the workplace covering recruitment, promotion, career progression and staff development alongside BME board representation.
Other indicators are based on data collated from the staff survey of the 2016, with harassment and bullying central to this information.
Encouragingly, the latest report indicates positive changes in a wide range of areas.
These include the number of nurses and midwives who are progress from the lower grades into senior positions and a slight reduction in the reported experience of discrimination of ethnic minority staff from colleagues and managers.
Yvonne Coghill OBE, NHS England’s Director, Workforce Race Equality Standard Implementation, believes that the data contained within the report represents progress for the NHS in this area.
“This the second WRES report is an important marker of the progress the healthcare system in England is making on the important issue of workforce race equality. We fully realise there is a long way to go, however celebrating the achievements and progress that has been made in some sectors and regions is important.”
Coghill also outlined the future direction of NHS England policy intended to address issues of importance.
“We will continue to work closely with the frontrunners on this agenda to identify what’s working and support those organisations that need additional input. The key thing is for all to meet the WRES objectives and ultimately reflect an NHS that is equitable and fair for everyone.”
WRES has been part of the NHS standard contract, starting in 2015/16 and included in the 2016/17 NHS standard contract.