Bullying and harassment of BME NHS staff is the focus of a Royal College of Midwives (RCM) motion at the TUC Black Workers’ Conference starting today.
The RCM will also be supporting a motion by the union Prospect on the under-representation of BME groups.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) Black Workers Conference takes place in London from Friday 7th April to Sunday, 9th April 2017.
Bullying and harassment of BME staff in the NHS is an issue of real concern to the RCM. NHS England published their first report of the results of the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES). This revealed worrying findings about the proportion of BME staff in the NHS facing bullying and harassment. In 75% of all acute NHS trusts (where most midwives work) a higher percentage of BME staff report experiencing harassment, bullying and/or abuse by staff than white NHS staff.
With maternity services under enormous pressure as demands increase, levels of bullying and harassment are inevitably high, and BME staff are facing the brunt of this. There are significant impacts of this as a RCM survey published last year showed.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of RCM BME members agreed with the statement ‘I trust my colleagues’ compared to 78% of white members. The same percentage agreed with the statement ‘I am able to ask my line manager a question if I don’t understand something’ compared to 71% of white member. BME midwives are also more likely to want to leave their job than their white colleagues.
The RCM will be asking the TUC at the conference to provide training for workplace representatives so they have the skills and confidence to tackle all forms of racist bullying and harassment at work.
Commenting, Amy Leversidge Employment Relations Advisor at the RCM says; “Bullying and harassment of anybody is unacceptable. It is also shocking that our BME colleagues suffer more bullying and harassment than their white colleagues.
“It can have a profound impact on the mental and physical health of those that are bullied. It also has an effect on the care people are able to give. Bullying and harassment hurts those who face it, and it affects the quality of patient care. We all need to work together to eradicate this from our NHS.”