Nurses and midwives form the largest collective professional group within the NHS. One in every five are from BME backgrounds, rising to much higher levels (up to 40 per cent) in some regions and parts of the country, such as London. Yet, very often, the opportunities and experiences that BME nurses and midwives (and BME staff in general) receive do not always correspond to the values upon which the NHS proudly stands.
The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) programme of work is focussed upon closing the gaps in white and BME staff experiences and opportunities across the NHS and health and social care settings. In April 2017, the NHS Equality and Diversity Council published 2016 WRES data on the workplace experiences and opportunities for BME and white staff, for every NHS organisation across England. The data showed that BME nurses and midwives were, in general, poorly represented in the higher Agenda for Change (AfC) pay bands. This has unfortunately been the case for many years. As a result of the WRES report, an appreciative enquiry took place to help identify what the best performing trusts in this area were doing.
Enabling BME Nurse and Midwife progression into Senior Leadership Positions summarises the learning from this engagement work and includes examples that outline best practice approaches and a number of suggested actions to support improvement.