We must make every effort to end the discrimination BME communities face

BME Leadership Network and NHS Confederations leaders issue statement on discriminations faced by black and minority ethnic communities.

4 June 2020

"Leaders have a responsibility to set the tone in respecting others, respecting difference and valuing diversity. 

"As healthcare leaders, we can either help anchor our communities or contribute towards destabilising them. We must make every effort to end the direct and indirect discrimination black and minority ethnic (BME) communities face.
"In the case of George Floyd, direct discrimination led to his untimely death. We have our own equivalent cases in the UK, which are similarly caused by structural and systemic issues.
"Discrimination and inequality cost lives. The scandals of Grenfell and Windrush are now being overlayed by the disproportionate numbers of COVID-19 deaths within the BME population. Ill-treatment leads to ill health; non-inclusive health services can exacerbate the socioeconomic determinants of health inequalities. We urge healthcare leaders to act on the evidence that too often health outcomes and satisfaction for BME communities, service users and staff fall significantly below those of the white community.
"Not being racist is not enough. We must be wholeheartedly anti-racist, applying evidence-based approaches, and hold ourselves to account for delivery."

Danielle Oum and Ifti Majid, co-chairs of the BME Leadership Network and respectively chair of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and chief executive of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Co-signed by:

Joan Saddler OBE, Director of Partnerships and Equality, NHS Confederation

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation

Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair, NHS Confederation

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive, Mental Health Network

Heather Moorhead, Director, Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care

Darren Hughes, Director, Welsh NHS Confederation

Dr Layla McCay, Director, NHS European Office