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HCSA News: Equalities in the spotlight

National Officer Farah Cheema reports on questions of race equality in our health services raised at the annual TUC event.

As a Trades Union Congress affiliate HCSA has taken part in several national conferences so far this year, representing various sections of the organisation.

One regular date is the TUC Black Workers Conference, where the association joined sister health unions as delegates discussed the universal issues that impact on black and minority ethnic (BME) sections of the workforce.

Among topics up for debate was the labyrinth faced by BME senior leaders. This was highlighted by senior civil servants’ union FDA and will resonate with many HCSA members who have encountered the “snowy white peaks” of the NHS.

A separate Royal College of Midwives motion highlighted bullying and harassment in the NHS, informed by the results of the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) which requires NHS organisations to deliver findings to their board and formulate an action plan.

NHS England revealed that, in 2016, in 75 per cent of acute NHS trusts a greater proportion of black and minority ethnic staff than white staff had reported bullying, harassment and abuse.

This prompted a call for training for local representatives to assist in challenging workplace bullying and influencing WRES action plans.

Reflecting on the event, HCSA National Officer Farah Cheema said: “It was a pleasure to be able to meet colleagues from the Royal College of Midwives, Unison, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and also equality officers from Unite and the GMB.

“I do hope that next year the HCSA can contribute fully to the Black Workers’ Conference and I would urge members to come forward as delegates for this inspiring and educational event.”

● Any HCSA members wishing to attend this or other TUC conferences on behalf of the association is invited to email our national office or contact their National Officer for more details.