NHS Race and Health Observatory appoints director

Habib Naqvi

Dr Habib Naqvi MBE has been appointed as director of the newly launched NHS Race and Health Observatory, hosted by the NHS Confederation and supported by NHS England.

Dr Naqvi’s appointment to the research organisation, which was launched in May 2020, follows that of Marie Gabriel CBE as chair.
Its aim is to identify and tackle the specific health challenges facing people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds.
Dr Naqvi has a background in equality and diversity policy, public health, and health psychology. He is currently interim director for the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard within NHS England, and is an ambassador for The Mary Seacole Trust.
He joined NHS England in 2013, and previously worked on the development of national equality and diversity policy at the Department of Health and Social Care, where he led on the development of the Equality Delivery System for the NHS. Dr Naqvi also led the health sector’s response to the Government’s review of the Public Sector Equality Duty.
He has experience in academia and research, including a portfolio of healthcare research. He was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to equality and diversity in the NHS.
Marie Gabriel CBE, chair of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said:
“This is a critical juncture in the history of the NHS, as we are faced with a threat to public health that presents the greatest risk to people from BME backgrounds. This has catapulted the longstanding health inequalities, and inequities experienced by BME communities to the forefront of the public consciousness, and it’s long past time to take action.
“Dr Naqvi’s insight, influence and proven track record in achieving change will be invaluable to the success of the Observatory. I look forward to working with him as we begin our vital work of evidencing and providing practical solutions, which will enable the NHS to systematically address the inequalities that exist.” 
Dr Habib Naqvi MBE said: “I am extremely pleased to take on the role of director of the Observatory, which I firmly believe will be a catalyst to make the changes the NHS needs, including improvements on longstanding issues relating to access, experience and outcomes for BME communities.
“Although tackling wider inequalities cannot fall to the NHS alone, the NHS has made strides on tackling race inequality, and has to be supported to work on implementing hard-hitting recommendations for sustained change. I believe the work of the Observatory will be a vital step towards bringing this about.” 
Prerana Issar, chief people officer for the NHS, said:
“I firstly want to give my sincere thanks and express my gratitude to Habib for his tireless work over the years, and his great contribution to the WRES programme. Together with Yvonne Coghill, their leadership and dedication to workforce race equality was the driving force behind the WRES programme. 

“Habib’s commitment to improving the experience of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds working in the NHS leaves a strong legacy, and he has been instrumental in helping to foster an ongoing improvement in workplace culture in the NHS. As he takes up his new challenge, I wish Habib great success. This is the beginning of a new partnership, to improve the experiences and outcomes of all our people, patients and service users.”

The Observatory will involve experts from this country and internationally, and will offer analysis and policy recommendations to improve health outcomes for NHS patients, communities and staff.
It will look at a broad range of evidence, including hearing from people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds themselves, and support the health care system with implementation.
For further information, visit www.nhsconfed.org/news/2020/05/race-health-observatory.


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