- Almost half of all BME staff at Lincolnshire Partnership FT said they experienced abuse, bullying or harassment from patients and visitors
- Represents an increase of 18 percentage points on previous year
- Trust says its efforts to encourage reporting of incidents was a likely cause of the spike
Almost half of all black and minority ethnic background staff at a Lincolnshire trust said they experienced abuse, bullying or harassment from patients and visitors last year.
Forty-eight per cent of those with a BME background at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust, a small mental health provider, said they had experienced these interactions in the year to April 2019, up from 30 per cent the previous year.
National figures for the same period have not yet been published, so it is not clear whether there has been an increase in these issues being reported across England.
National survey data from 2017 suggested 29 per cent of BME staff had experienced these issues – a similar proportion to white staff.
The trust says its efforts to encourage reporting of incidents was a likely cause of the spike.
The issue of racism towards BME staff was highlighted by several NHS chief executives at an HSJ roundtable event earlier this year.
Nick Hulme described north east Essex as “probably the most homophobic, racist, awful place in some senses to live in the country”, while Andrew Ridley, chief executive of Central London Community Healthcare Trust, said he had accompanied a nurse on a domiciliary visit to a patient where the first words said to her were “black bitch”.
The new figures for LPFT were included in the trust’s equality and diversity report for 2018-2019.
By comparison, 28 per cent of white colleagues reported experiencing abuse, bullying or harassment in the year to April, up from 25 per cent the previous year.
Of the more than 2,000 staff employed when the report was compiled, 99 employees identified as BME, representing around 5 per cent of LPFT’s workforce.
Sophie Ford, the trust’s equality, diversity and inclusion lead, said: “We have been raising awareness among our black and minority ethnic staff about the importance of reporting any instances of bullying and harassment and working with our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian to encourage reporting among junior doctors.
“All this was with the aim of getting a true picture of what our [BME] staff experience and learning lessons to improve the trust as a place of work. Our senior leaders have also been very supportive and vocal about ensuring the trust is a workplace with an inclusive culture. The increase of reported bullying and harassment in our latest WRES figures is likely to be reflecting all this work.”
The report was referenced in trust board minutes from September, but was first made public in July.
Other figures in the same report, taken from a staff survey, stated that around 26 per cent of BME staff had experienced discrimination from patients and the public, compared to 5 per cent of white staff.
Equality and Diversity Annual Report for 2018-2019