Survey reveals gap between race bias policy and practice

Fewer
than half of NHS trusts have written procedures for dealing with racial
harassment, according to new research.

A
survey by the Commission for Racial Equality reveals that only 5 per cent of
NHS trusts have fully implemented racial equality action programmes and only 11
per cent have set themselves employment percentage targets.

Racial
Equality and NHS Trusts included responses from 128 trusts in the London, South
West, South East and Eastern regions of the NHS in England.

The
survey says, "Policies tend to be written without reference to trade
unions or staff and many employees are unaware of the trust’s policy. In many
there was a disturbing gap between equal opportunities policy and
practice."

CRE
commissioner Shushila Patel said the survey reveals some prime examples of good
practice and good intentions, but that it also shows that more progress is
needed.

About
45 per cent of trusts surveyed have an action plan that is scheduled for
implementation or is in the process of being implemented.

Patel
said, "Parliament has just put into law the most important piece of race
equality legislation for 25 years, providing for a duty on the part of public
bodies to work for race equality.

"This
survey shows why the legislation is so important. While the overwhelming
majority of trusts surveyed have formal written policies, half of all the
trusts have no plans to implement those policies in any meaningful way."

Marie
Clary, HR manager for Poole Hospital NHS Trust, thinks the survey’s findings
show trusts should guard against complacency about  racial equality.

She
said, "I think the survey gives practical indications of how trusts can
positively respond and implement racial equality in the health service.

"There
is always more to be done but I think we have got the basics right. It is not
an area where you ever feel you’ve done enough. As soon as you reach a certain
point you want to set new targets and objectives."

http://www.cre.org.uk/

By Bben
Willmott

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