Trusts could face action from the Commission for Racial Equality after just 1 per cent were found to have complied with race equality legislation.

Trusts could face action from the Commission for Racial Equality after just 1 per cent were found to have complied with race equality legislation.

An investigation by the Healthcare Commission found that only seven of the 570 English NHS trusts had fulfilled their statutory duty to publish three pieces of race equality information on their websites. Organisations will be marked down in their annual performance ratings as a result, and the CRE said it was considering action.

By law, trusts must publish details of their action plans demonstrating how they will make race equality central to their functions; employment monitoring statistics of black and ethnic staff; and the outcomes of their race equality impact assessments.

But the commission found:

  • no information at all on race equality on 31 per cent of trust websites;
  • details of minority employment statistics on just 6 per cent of websites;
  • details of race equality impact assessments on only 2 per cent of websites.

Trusts have the option of publishing the information as hard copy, but a pilot test found that just 1.8 per cent of trusts chose this option.

CRE director of policy and public sector Nick Johnson described this failure to comply with legislation as 'gross neglect' of 'laws designed to protect all members of our communities'.

'We will be considering enforcement action against trusts that fail to meet their requirements,' he said.

Healthcare Commission head of strategy Jamie Rentoul said he was 'surprised and disappointed at the apparent extent of the problem', and the Department of Health's national director for equality and human rights Surinder Sharma said it 'pointed to serious issues of concern?.

NHS Employers head of equality and diversity Carol Baxter insisted many trusts and PCTs were currently revisiting their policies in the light of legislation on equality and diversity.

http://www.healthcarecommission.org.uk