Inequalities and inclusion in NHS providers

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Why we're doing this project

Research demonstrates that not enough progress has been made to address discrimination against NHS staff from ethnic minority backgrounds. The King’s Fund produced a report on the scale of the issue that highlights how the experiences of staff can vary depending on their age, gender and ethnicity. Reported levels of discrimination are highest for Black employees and lowest for white employees; all other staff from ethnic minority backgrounds are far more likely to report experiencing discrimination than white employees. 

The introduction of the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) (mandated through the NHS standard contract, starting in 2015/16) has led to improvement in a number of areas. However, significant cultural challenges remain in ensuring NHS staff from ethnic minority backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.

What we're doing

The King's Fund is committed to supporting the NHS to develop cultures of diversity and inclusion. We interviewed NHS staff to understand what discrimination looks and feels like in health care settings and what impact it has on individuals, teams and organisations. We also explored the experiences of NHS staff from ethnic minority backgrounds to add greater depth and meaning to the data already available in the NHS staff survey and linked to the WRES. These are shared in a new illustrated feature, A long way to go.


A final report was published in July 2020.

The lived experience of NHS staff from ethnic minority background was shared in an illustrated feature - 'A long way to go' and in a short animation

Project lead


Shilpa Ross

Senior Researcher, The King's Fund

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