Will the UK Government Address Racism in the NHS?

Structural racism within the UK society is an existing factor that affects social productivity and work improvement. Inequalities in the workplace have targeted the workforce with ethnic minority backgrounds at all social levels. The NHS staff from non-white families have suffered racist treatment from colleagues and patients. The UK government should do more to eliminate discrimination in the workplace.

Racism Has Negative Impacts on Doctors’ Well-being 

The majority of ethnic minority doctors in the UK have struggled with racism in the medical profession. An extensive survey of discrimination in medicine has found that doctors from minority groups face racial discrimination at work. The British Medical Association’s Racism in Medicine survey shows that they experience racism from colleagues and patients. According to the study, nearly 60 percent of doctors from minority groups in the UK have experienced anxiety. However, 71 percent of those doctors have chosen not to report racism to avoid labels such as troublemakers. The survey highlighted the negative impacts of racism on doctors’ careers and well-being. White doctors born in the UK experience a more congenial environment and receive kind assistance. On the contrary, minority doctors experience work-related tensions and stress; therefore, some decide to leave their jobs.

The Staff of non-British Background Face Discrimination 

The British Medical Association’s Racism in Medicine survey has revealed that 17 percent of ethnic minority doctors regularly face racism. At the same time, 75 percent of ethnic minority doctors experienced racism more than once at work. Over 90 percent of black and Asian doctors and 73 percent of mixed-race doctors have said racism is an issue. Even 63 per cent of white doctors believe that racism in the medical profession is a problem. Around 40 percent of doctors in Britain are from minority backgrounds and have experienced racist behaviour from colleagues and patients. They have faced disproportionate and false complaints and heard racists comments from their colleagues. Racism and discrimination against minority doctors exist almost in every British hospital. Doctors with non-British backgrounds have to work several times more than white doctors to gain progress.

A Racist Culture Exists in the NHS

The Tackling Inequalities and Discrimination Experiences in health Services (TIDES) had done another study about healthcare inequalities. It concluded that a culture of racism such as bullying and harassment had been embedded in the NHS. There is a need to tackle racist culture for a fairer workplace to reduce the harmful impact of unjust behaviour on ethnic minority healthcare workers. Nurses, midwives, and healthcare assistants had already reported discrimination as an organizational culture among the NHS workforce.

The Ethnic minority staff has been experiencing inequalities and racism due to prejudicial views of colleagues and managers. The team of different ethnicity and races did not usually feel appreciated for their knowledge. According to this study, the ethnic minority healthcare staff had to work harder to improve at work. Some of them had to leave work altogether because of unfair treatment.

Patients Ignore Experience of Minority Nurses 

Nurses and midwives in the UK have reported racism in the medical profession. Black African nurses have experienced extreme racial discrimination from their colleagues and patients. The NHS Race and Health Observatory have found that managers prohibited capable Black African nurses from carrying out specific procedures. Patients ignore ethnic minority nurses and do not respect their knowledge and experience. In some cases, patients have refused care from ethnic minority nurses.

The ethnic minority staff has spent longer working in lower grades and less time in senior rates. The pandemic has exacerbated ethnic inequalities among the NHS workforce. Minority ethnic nurses were more likely to die from Covid-19 than white staff. Also, ethnic minority staff has received less successful protective equipment. They were more likely to work in sections for Corona patients than white colleagues.

Non-British Staff Receive Lower Wage 

Another report concluded that historic racist or discriminatory policies and attitudes have shaped UK organizations. The British Medical Association has reported that racist culture shaped the life and work of many ethnic minority healthcare workers. Many doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds have had negative experiences in education, training, and the workplace. Structural racism is predominant in the NHS, and minority groups have experienced unequal treatment from managers or colleagues. Similarly, there is a significant pay gap between doctors from a white background and doctors from a non-white background. Racism within the NHS is vast and has ruined the lives of many ethnic minority doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff. The minority workforce, either healthcare staff or not, has faced discrimination at any workplace in the UK.

UK Workplace Is not Fair for Workers of Minor Backgrounds

Employees from Black, Asian and Mixed Race have suffered racism in the workplace. Two in three finance workers from ethnic minority backgrounds have suffered discrimination in the workplace. They do not receive equal credit at work as their white colleagues do. Almost half of the black employees have left their jobs because they have felt discrimination. The unemployment rate for black and minority ethnic groups has increased and resulted in an ethnic gap between white and non-white workers in the UK. Minority groups have had low-paid jobs, so some had to take on more than one job. During the pandemic, minority ethnic workers were three times more likely to lose working hours than white workers. They have shouldered the pandemic burden with less secure jobs and lower wages.

Conclusion

Several surveys have revealed that the NHS ethnic minority staff has faced racial discrimination. According to the surveys, doctors from ethnic minority groups have experienced racist behaviour from their managers and colleagues. They want to focus on caring for patients without fear of abuse and disrespect. Nurses and other healthcare staff of ethnic minority backgrounds have spoken about racism they experienced at the NHS. Some of them complained that their colleagues and some patients did not respect their knowledge and experience. Racism at workplaces has negatively impacted doctors’ and nurses’ jobs and improvement. A majority of the workforce from minority backgrounds had been subject to racist behaviour and discrimination at any workplace. Everyone deserves a decent work environment and respectful treatment. The UK government should address this inequality and identify practical solutions to tackle racial discrimination within the UK society once and for all.

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