NHS race equality team in line for 2019 HSJ Awards

A national team working to ensure the NHS is a good place to work for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds has been recognised for its actions and achievements over the last twelve months.

NHS England and Improvement’s Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) team has been shortlisted for the ‘Workforce Initiative of the Year’ at this year’s HSJ Awards, recognising its outstanding contribution to addressing racial inequalities across the diverse NHS workforce.

The judging panel, made up of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community, have shortlisted the WRES initiative based on its ambition, visionary spirit and the positive impact it is having on staff experiences within the NHS.

WRES was created in 2015 to ensure health service employees from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are treated fairly at work, and to close the gaps in treatment between them and white staff.

The annual audit for the Workforce Race Equality Standard reviews the treatment of BME and white staff working for the NHS, measured across nine key metrics, including representation, experience of discrimination and access to senior roles.

Last year there were 29 trusts with three or more BME board members, almost double the number in 2016, while the number of trusts with no BME representation is also falling. Representation of people from BME backgrounds in managerial and senior managerial roles is also increasing, with the proportion of very senior managers from BME backgrounds increasing to 6.8% in 2018, compared to 5.7% in 2017.

Yvonne Coghill, Director of the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard said: “I am delighted the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) programme and the fabulous team that I have the pleasure to work with has been shortlisted for the HSJ awards 2019 workforce initiative of the year.  The role of NHS England and NHS Improvement cannot be underestimated, as investing in the WRES in a long term basis will help us continue to make the changes that our staff and patients need and deserve. We are lucky enough to have members of staff from all over the globe helping to make our NHS world class.”

The national team have also introduced WRES experts – NHS staff who take on voluntary roles alongside their main job and are on hand to help ensure each part of the health service is helping to address inequalities between different groups of staff. The qualified experts, of which there are now 80 across the country, are employed in positions from HR and equality, project management and medical teams, and form part of an existing network of specialists working across the NHS in England.

HSJ editor Alistair Mclellan, said “We would like to congratulate WRES on being nominated in the category of Workforce Initiative of the Year’ ahead of this year’s 2019 HSJ awards. We are looking forward to welcoming them to the ceremony in November, to join us in recognising the very best achievements and innovations in the healthcare sector. The entrants this year have been of incredible calibre, and each of the finalists in this category have been chosen based on their outstanding commitment to excellence in healthcare.”

View a full list of nominees for the 2019 HSJ awards (partnered by GRI).

Winners will be selected ahead of the 2019 HSJ awards ceremony, which is due to be held at the Battersea Evolution Centre, London on November 6th.