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Race Equality Action Plan

  • Last modified date:
    8 February 2007

Leadership and race equality in the NHS

1. The NHS and Department of Health must give even greater prominence to race equality as part of our drive to improve health.  We must:

  • pay greater attention to meeting the service needs of people from ethnic minorities. This will help us to meet the standards both for improved services and health outcomes in the long term and to hit our short term targets
  •  make race an important dimension of our strategy for the next five years through more focus on helping people with chronic diseases - where morbidity is high amongst people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds - and on health inequalities - where ethnic minority communities are often disadvantaged
  •  target recruitment and development opportunities at people from different ethnic groups whose skills are often underused. This will assist our drive to recruit more staff, increase our skill base and introduce new working patterns.

2. We need to tackle this in a systematic and professional way. Equality and diversity need to be explicitly acknowledged and integral to all NHS corporate strategies.

3. I will lead this work personally given its importance. I will draw a strengthened team around me to monitor and support delivery of the ten actions on the accompanying page.

4. Success will be judged not on what we say but on what we do.

5. As well as my oversight, Ministers will take a keen interest in progress. Staff in black and minority ethnic networks from the service will be encouraged to express views and keep this plan under review. And, to make sure we benchmark ourselves against the best, I have invited an independent expert panel to review our progress and report back to the September Chief Executive's conference this year. 

6. This brings real focus. I hope by July that up to 500 senior NHS and DH leaders will be mentoring a member of staff from an ethnic minority. Some already do this and can help others who want to get started. The Leadership Centre will offer advice for those with little experience of cross cultural mentorship and will draw up a list of potential mentees for those who may find it hard to identify someone locally who would like this opportunity.

7. My hope is that staff from ethnic minority backgrounds who participate in this mentorship programme will provide NHS leaders with insights and inspiration to promote race equality in new ways. Equally I hope that they get the benefit of the experience and enthusiasm of our senior leaders. 

February 2004

STRATEGIC DIRECTION: Through the forthcoming planning guidance, embed race equality into future Local Delivery Plans to enable more personalised care, reduced chronic disease and health inequalities, increased capacity and community regenerationDH and all NHS leaders with national and local partners
ALIGN INCENTIVES: Build race equality into the new standard and target setting regime, into local performance management systems and into the new inspection modelDH and all NHS leaders with national and local partners
DEVELOPMENT: Provide practical support to help NHS organisations make service improvements for people from ethnic minorities NHS Top Team & NHS Modernisation Agency
COMMUNICATIONS: Encourage fresh approaches to communications  to engage  people from ethnic minorities more effectively in improving outcomesAll NHS organisations and DH
PARTNERSHIPS: Work with other national and local agencies to promote the health and well being of people from ethnic minority communitiesDH and all NHS leaders in concert with national, regional and local partners
MENTORING: Senior leaders to show their commitment by offering personal mentorship to a member of staff from an ethnic minorityAll senior leaders in DH and NHS
LEADERSHIP ACTION: Senior leaders to include a personal 'stretch' target on race equality in their 2004/5 objectivesNHS Chairs and CEs; DH Board members
EXPAND TRAINING, DEVELOPMENT AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES: Enhance training for all staff in race equality issues. Develop more entry points for people from ethnic minorities to join the NHS and take up training. Improve access for black and minority ethnic staff to the full range of development programmes, support networks and professional training. Encourage appropriately qualified leaders from ethnic minorities in health and other sectors to consider and apply for executive positionsLocal WDCs and HR networks, NHS Leadership Centre, NHSU and other training providers
SYSTEMATIC TRACKING: Build systematic processes for tracking the career progression of staff from ethnic minorities including local and national versions of the NHS Leaders schemeAll senior leaders and NHS Leadership Centre 
CELEBRATE ACHIEVEMENTS: Acknowledge the contributions of all staff in tackling race inequalities and promote opportunities for staff from ethnic minorities to celebrate their contribution to the NHSDH and all NHS leaders

This action plan has been developed with the help of staff from ethnic minorities within the NHS, building on the advice from leaders in other sectors, and the Commission for Race Equality. It has the full backing of Ministers, the Department of Health's Management Board and the NHS 'Top Team'. 

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