Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) regarding a new goal for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation in Very Senior Manager roles to match that across the rest of the NHS by 2028…reports Asian Lite News
Top NHS managers should be as diverse as the staff they represent, Health Minister Stephen Barclay said. He was unveiling an ambitious new goal to help eliminate the ethnicity pay gap in the health service. As part of the Government’s drive to tackle inequality in the workplace the Department of Health and Social care commissioned an NHS ethnicity pay analysis, which revealed ethnicity pay gaps within the NHS. The gap is at its most stark among senior, non-clinical managers – where BAME male managers earnt on average 11% less than White male managers and similarly 9% less for BAME female managers.
This is due to fewer BAME staff reaching the most senior levels of the NHS, and as a result, receiving lower average pay. Diversity across the NHS is above the national average, with BAME staff making up 17% of the non-medical NHS workforce. However only 11% of senior managers are BAME, dropping to just 6.4% at a very senior level.
Monthly basic pay shows black male staff were paid 16% less than White male staff, and Black female staff were paid 7% less than White female staff, across the NHS as a whole. The largest ethnicity pay gap was seen for Black male managers and senior managers, who earnt on average 20% less in basic pay than White male managers and senior managers. Other findings are: BAME men and women had a lower basic pay on average than their White counterparts; the gaps were largest for Black female doctors and Black male non-medical staff, at 16% and Asian staff had the highest basic pay on average – at £2,637 for women and £3,764 for men – and Black staff had the lowest, at £2,242 for women and £2,551 for men.
Responding to these figures, Mr Barclay has set an ambitious goal for the NHS to ensure BAME representation at Very Senior Management (VSM) levels – such as NHS chief executives – will match that across the rest of the NHS workforce within 10 years.
NHS bodies, such as NHS England and Public Health England, are also committing to a new Race at Work Charter which will recognise organisations and business leaders who are taking action to understand and tackle barriers to recruitment or career progression for those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
“The NHS is a leading light of talent for people from all communities and backgrounds, with diversity levels far in excess of the national average,” said Mr Barclay. “However, it is unacceptable that this is still not reflected at the very top of the organisation – this kind of inequality has no place in a modern employer and I’m determined to tackle it.
“That’s why I have set an ambitious goal for the NHS to ensure its leadership is as diverse as the rest of the workforce within the next ten years, supporting a culture that allows diversity to thrive at all levels.”
The NHS is already leading the way and in September became one of the first public sector organisations to publish breakdowns of pay for all staff by ethnic group, with some individual trusts already publishing their own data and taking action.
Earlier this year Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Trust announced that she would no longer sit on interview panels for senior positions without BAME representation after the trust’s own figures revealed ethnic minorities were less likely to succeed at interview.
Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Chairman of the National Maternity Transformation Programme, said: “The NHS is alight with some of the most skilled, experienced and talented people imaginable. Each and every one of us deserves support to reach our full potential, and to not be held back by anything, including our ethnicity.
“Helping to remove some of the obstacles that BAME leaders face, will empower and inspire individuals who have the capability to be in senior leadership roles, but are not quite making it there for a variety of reasons. In turn this will improve the healthcare we provide to every person in this country.
“Today’s announcement is a huge commitment, and will take focused implementation, but if successful, the NHS will be all the richer for it.”
The NHS will be expected to implement similar measures which tackle the root causes of leadership inequality in order to achieve the ambition.
In addition, a number of the Department’s Arms-Length Bodies, including NHS England, Public Health England and Health Education England, have signed up to the new Race at Work Charter, which will recognise organisations who sign up to the five calls to action from the McGregor Smith One Year on review completed by Business in the Community to:
• Appoint an Executive Sponsor for race
• Capture data and publicise progress
• Commit at Board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
• Make clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the responsibility of all leaders and managers
• Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression
Ifti Majid, Chief Executive, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The work of Trusts and the Government for stronger BAME equality across the NHS is not just important for staff, but also has a key role to play for patients and the commissioning of services.
“Those moving up the career ladder should have role models to aspire to, demonstrating there are no barriers to their progression, but similarly patients should be able to receive healthcare that is delivered by those who understand them and their communities. This will achieve greater representation for the BAME population on all sides of the NHS.”
Yvonne Coghill, Director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard for NHS England, said: “Having an NHS workforce that is representative of the population improves patients’ care, safety and overall satisfaction with the health service.
“The annual Workforce Race Equality Standard is an honest and open analysis which shines a light on where we need to perform better for our staff. Although I’m confident that the NHS in England is moving in the right direction – as shown by the recent increase in senior managers from BME backgrounds and more NHS trusts having board-level BME representation – it’s equally clear that we have some way still to go.”
The Department of Health and Social Care is working with NHS Improvement, NHS England and Health Education England to implement the goals for leadership equality.