We need faster change on NHS race equality says RCM

on 04 March 2021 MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Midwives Pay

The pace of change for race equality in the NHS must be swifter, says the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) responding to the Workface Race Equality Standard (WRES) report published today. The report shows that there has been inconsistent positive change across the NHS, with small improvements in some aspects being offset by worsening results in other areas.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, said: “The pandemic has laid bare the inequalities at the heart of our society and our NHS. This is being felt acutely by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) midwives, maternity support workers and their NHS colleagues. Our own research has shown that black midwives are more likely than their white colleagues to face disciplinary action and lose their right to practise as a midwife as a result. That is why the RCM last year launched its own Race Matters campaign to challenge head on the racism and inequality faced by BAME maternity staff.”

 The WRES report highlights some improvements in race equality in the NHS including increasing numbers of BAME very senior managers and trust board members. It also showed that some areas worsened with shortlisted BAME applicants being less likely to be appointed to jobs than white ones.

Gill Walton added, “The focus that is now – finally – being given to race equality in the NHS is encouraging, but the pace must increase. Progress has to be quicker and the worrying reverses addressed urgently. There is racism within our NHS, and many of its processes reinforce this inequality. We must find it, root it out and reach a point where all staff are equal, and we must do it quickly.” 


To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].  Notes to editors

The WRES report can be read at https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/WRES-2020-report.pdf.  

The RCM’s Race Matters campaign aims to improve the care for women and staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. For more information see https://www.rcm.org.uk/supporting/race-matters/.

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/