Action plan published by St George’s Hospital in Tooting highlights difficulty BAME staff encounter in reaching senior roles

By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter

St George’s Hospital trust has published a diversity and inclusion action plan to combat the under-representation of staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds at senior levels.

Nearly half of the trust’s staff are from a BAME background, but the majority are in lower band job roles.

The trust’s workforce race equality statistics showed that white staff are 1.47 times more likely to be appointed from shortlisting than BAME staff, and that BAME staff are 2.54 times more likely to enter the formal disciplinary process than white staff.

Staff survey results from 2019 also showed the need to address career progression, experiences of discrimination at work from patients and managers, and for the trust to make adequate adjustments to enable staff that identified as having a disability to carry out work.

This was brought into starker relief during the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affected BAME people.

In the agenda for the latest board meeting yesterday, chief executive Jacqueline Totterdell said the trust had begun the process of risk assessing all staff on June 2.

Currently the trust’s completion rate of risk assessments stands at 80.7 per cent, compared to the London trust average of 56 per cent.

The trust’s completion rate of risk assessments for staff from BAME backgrounds stands at 81.8 per cent, compared to a national average of 73 per cent and the London average of 59 per cent.

She added: “It is critical that we make measurable and impactful progress in this area – warm words are fine, but these will not deliver the real change that our staff want and need.

“Concrete and measurable initiatives are crucial and, as a positive example of this, we have this week introduced a new initiative that requires interview panels for all Agenda for Change band 8A roles to include a trained BAME recruitment representative.”

Other key priorities for the action plan include improving development opportunities and listening and responding to concerns raised by BAME staff.

More than 3,000 senior staff have been asked to complete a leadership and culture survey this month, and a number of stakeholders are also being asked for their opinions and experiences of organisational culture at St George’s.

Board members will be updated on progress and findings in September, and will discuss next steps.

Ms Totterdell concluded: “Unless we make real and rapid progress in improving our culture and addressing the issues around diversity and inclusion that have become apparent in recent months, we will not realise the ambitions we set for the trust in our clinical strategy – our people are key to everything we do, and this will be a core area of focus in the months ahead.”

Pictured top: St George’s Hospital

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