Responding to reports that the Health Secretary has asked NHS trusts to stop hiring diversity officers, Dr Latifa Patel, BMA workforce lead, said:
“Rather than focusing his attention where it should be – on negotiating with healthcare workers to improve pay and conditions – Steve Barclay is instead trying to distract from the workforce crisis by aiming culture war tactics at the NHS.
“Racism, sexism, ableism and homophobia remain a real problem within the NHS and across society. We know that experiencing this discrimination has lasting impacts on NHS workforce retention and staff morale: nearly one third of ethnic minority doctors we surveyed last year had considered leaving the NHS or had already left within the past two years due to race discrimination.
“The cost to the NHS of replacing doctors and nurses who have been driven out by these experiences far outstrips the cost of employing diversity officers, who hold organisations to account in addressing poor workplace practices. Instead of a target for political attacks, the Health Secretary should see diversity officers in the NHS as a key tool in helping to stem the staffing shortfall, which we learn today is projected to top half a million in the next decade.”