Intended for healthcare professionals


Ethnic minority staff: trust boards still do not reflect NHS workforce

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 14 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m618
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

Black and ethnic minority staff continue to be underrepresented in the most senior jobs in NHS trusts, although there are signs of some improvement, new data show.

In 2019, black and ethnic minority staff made up 19.7% of the NHS trust workforce in England but only 8.4% of them were members of trust boards, an increase from 7.4% in 2018 and 7.0% in 2017.

The figures are compiled in the latest Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) report1 which uses nine key indicators to measure the experience and opportunities of white and ethnic minority people working in the NHS. They were published to coincide with the publication of The BMJ’s special issue on racism in medicine.2

They show that in London—which at 45% has the highest proportion of ethnic minority NHS staff—all 36 trusts had at least one board member from an ethnic minority background in 2019, up from 16 in 2014. But even this increase means that ethnic minority board members made up just 17.1% of boards …

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