We are more diverse and more inclusive yet still have more to do
Fewer colleagues in our hospitals are reporting incidents of harassment or abuse following our group-wide campaign against bullying and violence on the wards.
The latest Trust figures show the proportion of Black and ethnic minority staff experiencing harassment from either patient, relatives, the public or other staff fell last year and is on a downward trend.
A lower proportion of BME staff now say they experience abuse from the public than white staff. The findings of the annual Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES) are significant because the proportion of BME staff at Barts Health is higher than ever before, at 59%.
Not only does our workforce reflect the diversity of the east London population we serve, but we are making progress towards having representative leadership too.
The proportion of BME staff at Band 8a and above rose 3% last year (double the national average) to 37% - a 10% increase over the last five years. Representation at Board level is also improving, although we still have a long way to go here.
The WRES data indicates our WeBelong approach to inclusion is making an impact. However, as well as remaining under-represented at the top of the Trust, BME staff continue to be less likely to be short-listed for jobs, and more likely to face bullying and discrimination from colleagues.
Ajit Abraham, group director for inclusion and equity, said: “We are seeing some positive improvements which reflect the deliberate acceleration of WeBelong over the past year. Nevertheless, we are not complacent because there remains a gap between the experience of white and BME colleagues at work.
“The next phase of WeBelong will further embed an inclusive culture. We aim to double the number of inclusion ambassadors on promotion panels and are asking each hospital to identify a pool of talent who, with the right support, could better compete for senior roles.
“More interventions made more widely available, plus a concerted drive to empower colleagues to access these opportunities, will gradually build capability and take us closer to our goal of eliminating discrimination.”
The WRES shows fewer BME staff believe we offer equal opportunities for career progression than white staff. However, the gap - 41% compared to 51% - is narrowing as more take up development like career conversations and mentorship.
Seven out of ten colleagues who were mentored said it increased their confidence, expanded their professional network, and improved their job chances.
Hundreds of staff have attended cultural intelligence workshops since we launched this programme in April, and 62% said it increased their cultural knowledge.