Message from the Chief Executive underlining our zero tolerance approach to racial discrimination and abuse
Earlier this month, the national news covered a story of racist abuse against NHS staff which has almost tripled. ITV News found recorded incidents of racist attacks against NHS staff by patients (that staff have reported) increased from 589 in 2013 to 1448 last year – a 145% increase. Of the Trusts that responded, a massive 70% recorded a rise in such abuse.
One of the examples was a senior surgeon from Blackpool Victoria Hospital who happens to be Indian and has worked in the NHS for more than 20 years. Mr Shanbhag was reduced to tears when asked how he is spoken to by his patients, explaining how a patient had asked him, “can I have a white doctor for the operation?” Some NHS staff have stated a reason for not reporting or responding to such racial incidents was uncertainty their Trust management would back them.
Raj Jain, our Chief Executive of the NCA, on behalf of the Board, has issued a very clear statement in response to this;
“This is very worrying and sad. We do not and will not tolerate any racism or discrimination by our staff or by any of our patients and service users and their families who rely on our treatment and care. We have a zero tolerance of any sort of racial abuse whenever and wherever it arises, directly or indirectly. We will deal with this attitude and any such incidents in a kind, polite but firm and professional manner. If a patient asks to be treated by a white doctor, the answer is “no”.
“Our people need to be aware and confident that the Board and our management teams will support them in such cases. But it is important, like clinical incidents, that you are encouraged and feel safe to report any incidents of racial abuse or discrimination. We should be proud and celebrate the diversity of our workforce across our organisation and in our NHS. We will support all of our people - no matter their skin colour, culture, ethnicity or faith, gender or sexuality, or if they have a disability. We must change attitudes, educate others and not tolerate discrimination. We must address this together.”