‘Over A Third Of NHS Bodies Have Not Made Enough Progress On Race Equality’

More than a third of the 36 major NHS bodies in Wales have failed to make acceptable progress towards ensuring race equality, according to a new report. In its report, the Commission for Racial Equality names eight Local Health Boards and four NHS Trusts that have failed to show ‘due regard’ to the issue, and a further two LHBs that have only partially shown due regard.

The report says, ‘Simply stated, demonstrating ‘due regard’ requires an organisation to provide evidence that it is taking a realistic, proportionate and achievable response to weaknesses in their race equality practice.’

All public bodies have a legal duty to show they are improving race equality in the delivery of their services and the employment of staff.

The CRE accuses the LHBs at Bridgend, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire and the Vale of Glamorgan of failing to show due regard to race equality. Also failing the test are Bro Morgannwg, North East Wales, Pontypridd and Rhondda and Swansea NHS Trusts. Anglesey and Newport LHBs are said to only show partial due regard for race equality.

Prominent weaknesses and barriers to progress include difficulty in engaging with racial groups which are low in number and are sparsely located, financial and human resource constraints, sector-wide changes that have resulted in other issues getting higher priority than race.

In a joint introduction to the report, the Rev Aled Edwards, CRE commissioner for Wales, and Ann Lloyd, chief executive of NHS Wales, say that despite progress and individual examples of excellence, the health service in Wales is still a long way from delivering what those who work in it or depend upon its services have a right to expect, when it comes to equality practice.