The government is about to launch a campaign against racial harassment to ensure consistent handling of the issue throughout the health service, including by independent contractors.

The campaign is awaiting the go ahead from ministers.

Elisabeth Al-Khalifa, head of equal opportunities at the NHS Executive, told a satellite session that, from the point of view of service users, 'there should be a shared view about how it is dealt with' whether harassment came from other users or from staff.

She said there was already plenty of guidance but what mattered was implementation.

Despite clear government messages about the need for equal opportunities, too many trust boards had not addressed the issues at board level. Many trusts failed to collect figures on ethnicity and part-time workers, she said.