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Former NHS chief executive urges improvement of race equality

Former NHS chief executive, Lord Crisp, has claimed that more black and minority nurses are needed in leadership and management roles.

This new response comes ten years on from publishing the race equality action plan.

According to statistics from the Department of Health, only five of the 195 directors of nursing in England are black. However, 10 have not stated their ethnicity. Although around a fifth of the nursing workforce is from a BME background.

Lord Crisp told the Nursing Standard that this issue seems to be worse than before.

“If the NHS is going to serve people well we need to make the best of everyone and the talent of all NHS staff and I feel we are not getting the best out of BME staff,” he says.

“Nursing staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds make a vital contribution to health care in this country. The failure of the NHS to make full use of their talents and skills is simply unacceptable,” comments Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary.

“Senior managers in the NHS must address the barriers BME nurses face when applying for leadership roles. The danger is that without BME nurses in these roles, the NHS may fail to inspire the next generation of nurses or give them the confidence to progress in their careers.

“The NHS should be a champion of equality and fairness. Managers need to act now to promote equality in the workplace and ensure BME nurses are fully supported in accessing leadership programmes and taking on senior roles.”