Frequently asked questions

General FAQs

How many BME staff are there in the NHS?

There are currently approximately 193,000 staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in the NHS.

How many of these are senior managers?

At March 2006, approximately 1.62% of staff from a BME background were at an executive director level or higher.

How does their progression within the organisation vary from white managers?

Historically, white managers have fared better at moving into the most senior leadership roles. This programme was designed specifically to assist those black and minority ethnic staff with the talent and potential to move into senior leadership roles.

How has this position changed since the start of the programme?

Since its launch in October 2003, the programme has helped many individuals engage with the issues facing black and minority ethnic staff and to achieve their career aspirations and goals. This has helped the NHS get closer to achieving a senior leadership community which is truly diverse.

Is this positive discrimination by another name?

This programme focuses on creating a level playing field for black and minority ethnic NHS staff, and gives those with the talent and potential to move into senior leadership roles the tools to do so.

How many BME members of staff have been promoted to senior positions after taking part in the Breaking Through programme?

Since the programme began in 2003 the numbers of BME staff at an executive director level or higher has not significantly increased.

Why hasn’t this number significantly increased?

The goal of building a truly diverse leadership workforce in an organisation as large as the NHS will inevitably take time. The programme has already helped more than 420 individuals achieve their career goals and we are confident this figure will increase further.

How much support does the programme receive from white senior managers in the NHS?

The programme is supported at the very highest levels. Engaging more white senior managers with the goals of breaking through continues to be an important focus.

Are all minority ethnic staff given an equal opportunity to participate in the programme or is it primarily focused on attracting black staff?

The breaking through programme is aimed at all black and minority ethnic staff with the talent and potential to move into senior leadership roles in the NHS.

What are participation levels from around the country?

The programme attracts black and minority ethnic staff from around the country. This year, we are actively seeking greater participation from individuals from the North East and North West areas which have been underrepresented.

What are you doing to actively encourage more participation from minority communities outside of the black and asian communities?

The programme already engages with a wide range of individuals from across the black and minority ethnic communities. This year, as we strive to ensure participation that reflects the diversity of the NHS workforce, we’re encouraging greater participation from the Chinese, Polish and Russian communities.

Do you think the NHS is institutionally racist?

The NHS is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse organisations in the UK. The drive to create a leadership workforce which is truly diverse is supported at the very highest level in the NHS.

Is this programme really ever going to make a difference?

The programme has already made a difference by helping more than 420 individuals from black and minority ethnic backgrounds achieve their career aspirations and goals.

Is the goal of a truly diverse leadership workforce in the NHS an achievable one?

Achieving significant cultural change in an organisation as large as the NHS will inevitably take time. We are committed to helping more black and minority ethnic staff move into senior leadership roles and will continue working towards a senior leadership community which is truly diverse.

How do you judge whether the programme has been successful on an annual basis?

The breaking through programme continues to inspire black and minority ethnic NHS staff to achieve their full potential, with participants increasing in both number and diversity year on year.

What is the NHS Institute for Innovation?

The NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement aims to promote a culture of life-long learning for all NHS staff by working with NHS organisations and communities to develop effective learning systems to accelerate organisation and individual growth and change.

 
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Latest Breaking Through Events

Thu, May 21st, @6:00pm - 08:00PM
Yorkshire and Humber Alumni event for the Building Leadership Capacity Schemes & Programmes