HC Deb 10 May 1999 vol 331 cc61-2W
Mr. Stinchcombe

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what data his Department has collated on the time it takes for ethnic minority members of NHS staff to be promoted within NHS hospitals relative to white members of staff; [82232]

(2) what data his Department has collated on the rate at which ethnic minority members of NHS staff resign from the NHS relative to the rate for white members of staff; [82231]

(3) what data his Department has collated on whether ethnic minority members of NHS staff are more likely to be disciplined by (a) suspension and (b) dismissal than white members of staff. [82229]

Mr. Denham

The Department does not collect the data requested. Ministers are, however, concerned about the treatment of black and minority ethnic staff in the National Health Service and have a programme of action to tackle racism and end discrimination in the service.

In order to inform that programme, the Department commissioned Industrial Relations Services Research to undertake a survey of NHS trusts in England published in August last year, "Equal Opportunities and monitoring in NHS trusts", available from the Department of Health, Wetherby. This survey showed that 98 per cent. of NHS trusts have an equal opportunities in employment policy, but only a minority monitor promotions, redundancies, dismissals or training from an equal opportunities perspective. The survey has provided a baseline against which we are now able to measure progress and set targets for raising standards in employment practice.

As part of the modernisation of the NHS, the Government has published "Working Together—Securing a quality workforce for the NHS", the first human resources framework for the NHS published September 1998. This framework sets targets for reducing racial harassment of staff by colleagues and service users, and increasing ethnic minority representation in the work-force. By April 2000, local NHS employers are to have policies and procedures in place to tackle racial harassment, supported by monitoring and reporting arrangements to measure progress. They must also demonstrate that they are making progress year on year in achieving a more representative work-force.