The new health secretary is expected to create an action plan to tackle the uneven experiences of ethnic minority NHS workers, leading medics have said.
The British Medical Association said Sajid Javid, the first non-white health secretary at Westminster, needed to tackle the problems felt by many doctors and other NHS health workers.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chairman of the Board of the BMA, said Mr Javid should show his commitment to a health service “based on equity for ethnic minorities”.
He said the pandemic had highlighted inequalities, highlighting the experience of the crisis in communities as well as the NHS workforce.
Dr Nagpaul said the NHS ethnic minority workforce believed “enough is enough” and Mr Javid must be the health secretary who “fixes things”.
He told the PA news agency: “He is becoming secretary of health at a time when the pandemic has highlighted inequalities, linked to race, both in health care but also within the community. NHS workforce.
“As the first secretary of health for a person of color, he must demonstrate his absolute determination and commitment to a health service based on equity for ethnic minorities, both in the care they receive. , but also in terms of the experience of these people. that operate in the NHS.
“And he should do it early on because he needs to rebuild trust among the ethnic minority population and NHS staff.”
We are now at a time when the NHS ethnic minority workforce thinks enough is enough and that it has to be the Health Secretary who fixes this
“By the time he takes office we still have a much higher proportion of ethnic minorities who are in intensive care beds compared to the general population, the latest statistics are twice as many.
“It will also need to tackle public health issues affecting ethnic minorities, such as 30% of Bangladeshis living in overcrowded housing versus 2% of the white population, knowing that this was a factor in the spread of the disease, and how it impacted some communities.
‘In terms of the NHS workforce, it will need to address the very clear evidence that ethnic minority doctors have poorer experience in the NHS, with higher levels of bullying, harassment, fear of speaking out , as well as a disproportionate level of disciplinary action and referrals to the GMC. They also have poorer career progression, are less likely to be offered high-level consultancy positions, and there is a pay gap linked to ethnicity.
“We are now at a point where the NHS ethnic minority workforce thinks that is enough and that it has to be the Health Secretary who corrects this.
“Certainly within the medical profession we do not think it is acceptable for us to continue with these deeply rooted inequalities affecting ethnic minority doctors and the NHS workforce.
“And as Secretary of Health, he must be determined to fix it. So that we can show that we have a health service committed not only to fairness and equality with the patients we treat, but also to the NHS staff who work there.
“He takes office at the end of a pandemic that has shown how unequal society is and how unequal the experiences of doctors and ethnic minority health workers have been within the health services.
“And he has to show that this is not something that is going to be put on the back burner, that he is going to be frank in wanting to put in place an action plan to fix it.”
Commenting on the remarks, Dr Habib Naqvi, Director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said: “The government must commit to clear, action-oriented approaches to tackling the underlying causes. -current ethnic inequalities in health.
‘The barriers which often lead to the lack of opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to develop their skills and careers must be removed to ensure that NHS workplaces across England become more diverse at all levels, and better represented and equipped to fight against inequalities in the workplace and more broadly in the community. “
Other key priorities will include overseeing the logistical challenge of deploying the immunization campaign, tackling the backlog of care, supporting an “exhausted and depleted workforce”, while navigating to a change at the top of the NHS following the resignation of Sir Simon Stevens. month.
Dr Nagpaul added: “I don’t think a Health Secretary has ever taken on this post at such a difficult time in the NHS.”
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