• In 2016-17, BME staff at one trust were nine times more likely to enter the disciplinary process compared to white colleagues
  • Nine out of the 10 worst performing trusts for race equality in the disciplinary process also saw the largest deterioration since 2015-16
  • London saw trusts make the largest improvement in reducing race discrimination in disciplinary data

Papworth Hospital Foundation Trust was the worst trust in England for racial bias in its formal disciplinary process last financial year.

Black and minority ethnic staff working at the trust were 9.5 times more likely to enter the disciplinary process compared to their white colleagues in 2016-17.

Roger Kline

Roger Kline said London trusts are ‘starting to focus’ on equality

Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust and Surrey and Borders Partnership FT were the second and third worst for showing racial bias in the disciplinary process, with staff 7.4 and 7.3 times more likely to face HR action.

The latest workforce race equality standard data from NHS England showed nine of the 10 worst trusts for poor racial equality in their disciplinary procedures also saw the highest deterioration against this standard in the year since 2015-16. Again, Papworth was the worst in the data for falling race equality. In 2015-16, a BME person was only 2.4 times as likely to be disciplined as a white colleague.

A spokesman for Royal Papworth Hospital said: “We take equality very seriously and have robust monitoring in place to ensure all employees are treated fairly. A very small number of our staff – 9 people in total - entered the formal disciplinary process last year, and the small numbers can make annual changes appear more significant.

“We have reviewed each case and have not identified any areas of concern about how the cases were managed.”

Bridgewater Community Healthcare FT was the only provider out of the 10 worst performing trusts for discipline data to not have worsened since last year. However, in 2015-16 the likelihood of BME staff being disciplined over white staff was 4.93.

Wirral Community FT was the fifth worst trust for the biggest change in discipline data although it was not in the worst 10 trusts overall. In 2015-16, BME staff were no more likely to be disciplined compared to white colleagues; however, this rose to an increased likelihood of 3.4 last year.

A trust spokesman said the “percentage of BME staff who entered the formal disciplinary process is in alignment with the percentage of BME staff at [the trust]” but there had been “an impression of significant decline” because of the small number of staff entering the disciplinary process.

Other trusts that also feature in one or both tables also cited the small number of staff involved in the formal disciplinary process.

A spokesman for Kingston Hospital FT said: “The number of staff entering the formal disciplinary process is very small and therefore small numbers skew the reflective likelihood figure.”

David Harris, director of people and organisational development at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership FT, said: “The data around the disciplinary process relates to a total of five cases, which we have looked into and haven’t identified any evidence of discrimination. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the upcoming year.”

Overall, in 20 trusts white staff were just as likely to enter the formal disciplinary process as BME staff. The best performers were spread evenly across the four NHS England regions, except for in London where only one trust, Tavistock and Portman FT, showed no racial bias in its disciplinary process.

WRES: The worst 10 trusts for racial equality in disciplinary procedures in 2016-17

Relative likelihood of BME staff entering the formal disciplinary process compared to white staff Trust Type
9.5 PAPWORTH HOSPITAL FOUNDATION TRUST Acute
7.4 NORFOLK COMMUNITY HEALTH AND CARE TRUST Community Provider Trust
7.3 SURREY AND BORDERS PARTNERSHIP FOUNDATION TRUST Mental Health
6.3 BRIDGEWATER COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE  FOUNDATION TRUST Community Provider Trust
5.8 KINGSTON HOSPITAL FOUNDATION TRUST Acute
5.8 JAMES PAGET UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS FOUNDATION TRUST Acute
5.6 CHESHIRE AND WIRRAL PARTNERSHIP FOUNDATION TRUST Mental Health
5.4 CENTRAL LONDON COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE TRUST Community Provider Trust
4.8 LIVERPOOL COMMUNITY HEALTH TRUST Community Provider Trust
4.6 ROYAL SURREY COUNTY HOSPITAL FOUNDATION TRUST Acute

WRES: The worst trusts for deteriorating race equality in disciplinary data between 2015-16 and 2016-17

Difference between 2015-16 and 2016-17 of likelihood of BME staff entering discplinary proces compared to white people Trust Type
-7.2 PAPWORTH HOSPITAL FOUNDATION TRUST Acute
-5.2 CHESHIRE AND WIRRAL PARTNERSHIP  FOUNDATION TRUST Mental Health
-4.6 KINGSTON HOSPITAL FOUNDATION TRUST Acute
-3.6 JAMES PAGET UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS  FOUNDATION TRUST Acute
-3.4 WIRRAL COMMUNITY FOUNDATION TRUST Community Provider Trust
-3.2 LIVERPOOL COMMUNITY HEALTH TRUST Community Provider Trust
-3.2 SURREY AND BORDERS PARTNERSHIP  FOUNDATION TRUST Mental Health
-2.3 CENTRAL LONDON COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE TRUST Community Provider Trust
-2.1 NORFOLK COMMUNITY HEALTH AND CARE  TRUST Community Provider Trust
-2.0 ROYAL SURREY COUNTY HOSPITAL  FOUNDATION TRUST Acute

Regional variation

London has made the biggest strives in reducing the variation in the proportion of disciplinary procedures between BME and white staff, with 58 per cent of London trusts improving in this area since 2015-16.

However, an NHS England report released alongside the WRES data last month said despite the London region having the largest BME workforce (43 per cent) in England, only 23 per cent at senior level have a BME background. In comparison, the white workforce in London overall is 51.8 per cent and 73.2 per cent of senior staff across the region are white.

Roger Kline, the previous NHS England director of WRES, said London trusts have made disciplinary improvements because they are “starting to focus” on the need to make changes. He said: “If you look at BME staff in London, in particular, why are they so disproportionably agency staffing? In part because it is a way of avoiding being stuck in trusts where you are not appreciated and can’t see the way forward.”

Northern and southern trusts have also seen a positive change with 53 and 46 per cent of trusts respectively in these regions narrowing the gap between white and non-white people being disciplined.

The Midlands and East saw disciplinary discrimination worsen since the 2015-16 data was collected. Forty four per cent of trusts in the region saw an increased likelihood of BME people entering the disciplinary process compared to white people, compared to 39 per cent that had improved. The rest of the trusts either stayed the same or had not submitted full data for both years.

Revealed: Trusts performing worst against race equality target