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Health watchdog calls on NHS to act on race equality failings

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The Healthcare Commission has called for immediate improvements in promoting race equality in the NHS. 

The watchdog said NHS trusts must do more to meet their legal obligations to promote race equality following a review, which showed that examples of good practice existed but many trusts fell short on meeting basic requirements.

Part of trusts’ legal obligations, under the Race Equality Act 2000, include consulting and engaging with their local populations, including ethnic minority populations. They must also publicly demonstrate how this engagement has impacted on the development of policies.

Trusts must publish accurate and up to date workforce statistics to make sure that their workforces are representative of the population they serve. The review found that 76% of trusts had published some data. But it said trusts must do more to ensure they published full accurate and up-to-date data.

Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker said: ‘NHS trusts need to properly  understand the ethnic make up of the community they serve and the people they employ if they are to deliver services that are fit for purpose.

‘NHS trusts have a legal responsibility both as an employer and as a commissioner and provider of services to meet certain requirements to promote race equality,’ she said. ‘It is time for a fundamental shift in the way trusts prioritise issues around race equality and the wider equalities agenda.’

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