Published On: 6 November 2023Tags: ,
Closing the Gap: guide for NHS employers published to address racism in disciplinary procedures

A new guide to help health service trusts tackle racial discrimination in disciplinary procedures and promote inclusivity has been launched by NHS Providers.

Closing the Gap has been produced to act as a comprehensive guide for trust leadership to recognise and tackle the discriminatory disciplinary gap in the health service’s workforce. This gap refers to the significantly higher likelihood of ethnic minority staff being reported, and these reports being acted on, by professional disciplinary procedures.

According to the most recent Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) data for the NHS, minority ethnic staff are 1.14 times more likely to enter a formal disciplinary process than white colleagues; in half of trusts, they are 1.25 times more likely.

The new guide, written in collaboration with healthcare law firm Hempsons, outlines the causes for this, which include conscious and unconscious bias, a lack of cultural awareness and sensitivity among leaders, systemic or structural issues disadvantaging this staff group, organisational cultural issues, bullying, and other disparities in relations between employees and human resources.

The guide also states the consequences of this inequality, such as the risk of losing talented staff, the impact on wellbeing, reputational damage to the NHS, as well as legal and financial implications, and offers examples of interventions which could be made to address it. The guide profiles health leaders’ actionable insights and practical interventions, ultimately giving a roadmap to tackle racial discrimination and improve the experience for staff from diverse backgrounds.

Some of the most common themes across the report are ensuring staff learn from mistakes and see them as opportunities for growth, deploying anti-racism training, and the power of data analysis to identify inequalities.

Read the report here.