BAME NHS England staff report bullying and harassment

A report published today from the NHS England, NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) shows the results of the experiences of BAME and white staff from the NHS staff survey 2015.  This represents the first time WRES data has been collected and published nationally.  

Top line findings show that 75% of all acute trusts show a higher percentage of BAME staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from staff in the last 12 months, but harassment, bullying or abuse from the public is similar for both BAME and white employees. 

In 86% of acute trusts, BAME staff do not believe that their organisation offers equal opportunities for career progression or promotion in comparison with white staff. 

Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community, said:
“No-one should have to suffer bullying and harassment in their workplace, regardless of ethnicity – including those working in the NHS. Business in the Community’s Race at Work research shows that healthcare has some of the highest rates of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees witnessing or experiencing racist bullying or harassment over the past five years.  26% experienced it from managers, 32% from colleagues, and a worrying 38%  - the highest of all industries – experienced racial bullying or harassment from customers, clients or service users.  
“I welcome the announcement that the NHS is recognising the challenge it faces and is committed to taking action on this issue to create more diverse, fair and inclusive workplace. We urge all employers to address bullying and harassment within their organisations, and senior leaders openly recognising the existence of bullying and harassment and taking clear action to deal with it is one of the critical steps. Additional actions, which we outline in our Race at Work report, include making diversity and inclusion part of managers’ objectives and ensuring that channels for reporting of harassment and bullying are accessible and straightforward.”


Recommendations for action from our Race at Work report:

  • Set objectives for managers at every level around ensuring diversity and inclusion in their teams. These objectives should include ensuring diverse talent has equal access to training, development opportunities and progression programmes
  • Senior leaders to recognise that racial harassment and bullying exists and take action to erase it from the workplace. Deliver a clear message from the top that this behaviour is not tolerated from managers, colleagues, clients or contractors; ensure that perpetuators are dealt with; and ensure channels for reporting of harassment and bullying are accessible and straightforward.

More recommendations for action>>


What is an NHS acute trust? 

Some hospitals in England are managed by acute trusts, some of which have also gained foundation trust status. 
Acute trusts ensure that hospitals provide high-quality healthcare and check they spend their money efficiently. They also decide how a hospital will develop so services improve.
Acute trusts employ a large part of the NHS workforce, including nurses, doctors, pharmacists, midwives, and health visitors. They also employ people doing jobs related to medicine, such as physiotherapists, radiographers, podiatrists, speech and language therapists, counsellors, occupational therapists, psychologists, and healthcare scientists.
There are many other non-medical staff employed by acute trusts, including receptionists, porters, cleaners, specialists in information technology, managers, engineers, caterers, and domestic and security staff.
Some acute trusts are regional or national centres for more specialised care, while others are attached to universities and help train health professionals.
Acute trusts can also provide services in the community – for example, through health centres, clinics, or in people's homes. 
Find out more: NHS Authorities and Trusts >>