• Health minister Stephen Barclays announced “ambitious goal” for NHS leadership to be as diverse as its workforce within a decade
  • Recent DHSC analysis revealed “stark” pay gap between BAME and white managers
  • Announcement includes creation of a new Race at Work charter for NHS organisations

The NHS has 10 years to boost the diversity of its senior leadership, health minister Stephen Barclay has announced today.

Currently, 17 per cent of the NHS non-medical workforce is from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background, but this drops to 6.4 per cent at very senior management levels. It is 11 per cent at senior management levels.

The health minister has said this “unacceptable” gap must be closed by 2028.

Mr Barclay said: “I have set an ambitious goal for the NHS to ensure its leadership is as diverse as the rest of the workforce within the next 10 years.

“The NHS [has] diversity levels far in excess of the national average. However, it is unacceptable that this is still not reflected at the very top of the organisation.”

An NHS ethnicity pay analysis, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care, found “stark” pay discrepancies between white and non-white staff.

The data, published in June 2018, found BAME male managers earned on average 11 per cent less than white male managers. In the same comparison between women, the gap was 9 per cent.

NHS bodies, including NHS England, Public Health England and Health Education England, have also agreed to a new Race at Work charter.

This will recognise NHS organisations delivering on five calls to action to improve workforce diversity. These include supporting ethnic minority career progression and appointing an executive sponsor for race.

Yvonne Coghill, director of the workforce race equality standard for NHS England, said: “Having an NHS workforce that is representative of the population improves patients’ care, safety and overall satisfaction with the health service.

“I’m confident that the NHS in England is moving in the right direction – as shown by the recent increase in senior managers from BAME backgrounds and more NHS trusts having board level BAME representation – it’s equally clear that we have some way still to go.”

DHSC is working with NHS Improvement, NHS England and Health Education England to implement the goals for leadership equality.