Published: 05/05/2005, Volume II5, No. 5954 Page 7

The Commission for Racial Equality has issued over 100 warnings to NHS organisations accused of discrimination in the last three years.

All NHS organisations are expected to have completed thorough reviews of their race equality action plans to tackle discrimination in service provision and recruitment processes by 31 May as part of their duty to comply with the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.

This required all public sector organisations to implement policies by May 2002, and review its success every three years.

A total of 108 formal notices of non-compliance have been sent to NHS organisations since the act was implemented. These are sent if race equality plans provided by the organisations following a complaint are not deemed up to scratch.

Since January 2004, the Commission has gone on to intervene in 12 cases. A CRE spokesman said the number was high considering it only acted on cases brought to its attention by patients or staff.

He added it is working with the Healthcare Commission to bring in full monitoring as part of annual ratings from 2005-06. Trusts were slammed for a combination of 'poor' race equality schemes, race equality monitoring and consultation.

'Our compliance action demonstrates that some organisations are still not getting the basics right, despite the availability of comprehensive guidance, ' said CRE director of public sector policy Nick Johnson.

'Three years on organisations should be clear about which parts of their service have an impact on race, the equality outcomes they want to achieve and how to achieve them.

'31 May is the end of the first three-year review cycle for organisations to identify what works and what doesn't and update policies where necessary. Over the coming months we will be checking compliance and holding organisations to account if outcomes are not being achieved, ' he added.