We must stop discrimination and bigotry in the NHS says RCM

on 30 October 2020 Midwifery NHS covid-19 Covid-19 Midwives BAME RCM Race matters Report

The RCM has called for an end to the discrimination and racism that blights the lives of our black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) NHS staff and women using maternity services ,responding to the Turning the Tide report, published with the support of the East London Local Maternity Services and East London Health & Care Partnership.

Zeenath Uddin, Head of Quality and Safety at the Royal College of Midwives and who leads on the RCM’s Race Matters campaign, said: “This report makes sobering reading and must not be ignored. The pandemic has laid bare the glaring and unacceptable inequalities at the heart of our NHS. These have a real, tragic, and sometimes fatal impact on black, Asian and minority ethnic NHS staff and women being cared for by our maternity services. These things have no place in our society, and even less so in our NHS which exists to care for those using it and its staff. That is why the RCM’s Race Matters initiative was started to tackle these issues and find solutions to them.”

The report focuses on the impact of the pandemic on BAME NHS maternity staff and women using maternity services. It also sets out several recommendations to improve the experiences of staff and women.

Zeenath added, “Many staff have stepped forward bravely to talk about their experiences for this report, and the terrible impact and hurt that bigotry and discrimination cause. Right now, the NHS is failing black, Asian and minority ethnic staff who go to work to care for others, and women who should rightly expect the same quality level of care and support, regardless of colour or race. It must stop and we must all work together to consign it to the past. The RCM will be at the forefront to make this happen, to challenge ourselves and others to do better, and to do better quicker.”

For information on the RCM’s Race Matters campaign visit https://www.rcm.org.uk/supporting/race-matters/.

The full report ‘Turning the Tide: The experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic NHS staff working in maternity services in England during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic’ can be accessed at https://www.eastlondonhcp.nhs.uk/ourplans/bame-maternity.htm.