Black and minority ethnic midwives in London are disproportionately more likely to face disciplinary proceedings, and receive a more severe outcome from disciplinary proceedings, figures suggest.
The Royal College of Midwives, which collated the figures, said they raised “disturbing” questions over whether BME midwives in London’s NHS were being treated fairly.
“Quite frankly these finding are deeply worrying”
The claim is based on analysis of Freedom of Information requests made to London NHS trusts by the RCM.
The findings are revealed in an RCM publication by the RCM – titled BME Midwives, Disciplinary Proceedings and the Workplace Race Equality Standard – which is being launched today at the TUC’s Black Workers Conference in London.
The new results are a repeat of the same FOI from 2011 and the latest findings show that little progress has been made since then.
The FOIs show that, from July 2010 to June 2015, BME midwives were disproportionately more likely to face disciplinary proceedings.
Almost half (44.1%) of the midwives employed in London are from a BME background. Yet in the capital, two-thirds (66.4%) of the midwives facing disciplinary proceedings are from a BME background.
Over the same period, a higher proportion of BME midwives than white midwives were dismissed in disciplinary proceedings. Over the five years studied, 38 midwives were dismissed, of which 37 were from a BME background.
Overall, from July 2010 to June 2015, 13.2% of the BME midwives who faced disciplinary proceedings were dismissed, compared with 0.7% of white colleagues who faced such proceedings.
Suzanne Tyler, director of services to members at the RCM, said: “Quite frankly these finding are deeply worrying. There is a pressing need to find out why it is happening.
“This and other reports suggest there is discrimination in the NHS and it must be tackled and it must be stopped,” she said.
She added: “The NHS needs to make sure that staff are treated fairly and equitably. We need the NHS to provide a truly inclusive service and have an NHS which treats all service users with respect, dignity and compassion.”
This new publication is the first in a series focusing on equality issues, to raise awareness about the RCM’s equality and diversity work, and to generate positive change in the NHS.
The next four publications in the series will be released in coming weeks – covering Equality Essentials, Pregnancy and Maternity Rights at Work, Working with the Menopause and Work-Related Stress.