17 April 2000 PRESS RELEASE

NHS Equality Framework must turn fine words into action.

Health union MSF today (Monday, 17 April) welcomed the publication of the Strategic Equality framework for the NHS.

The framework entitled The Vital Connection: An Equalities Framework for the NHS comes at a time when, despite a raft of good policies, discrimination in the NHS remains rife.

MSF Head of Health, Roger Kline said today that while ministers had encouraged a range of good policies, it was increasingly clear to ethnic minority NHS staff in MSF that too many NHS employers were making few, if any, changes.

"Survey after survey confirms that too many NHS employers put formal policies in place, but do not challenge the discriminatory culture which pervades the NHS. Ethnic minority staff are still not convinced that a sea change has taken place in many trusts.

Too often policies to tackle racism and sexism are there solely to deal with complaints, not to be proactive and challenge discrimination and harassment."

Roger Kline said that MSF believed that ministers and civil servants leading these policies were genuinely committed to deal with the problem, but feared that in too many organisations it was not treated as a priority.

"Failure to tackle discrimination must be treated in the same way as a failure to deliver clinical governance or financial probity. Until it becomes a core part of the performance management of the NHS, too many employers will pay lip service."

Roger Kline said MSF would be publicising the framework to its members and local representatives and would seek to performance manage the framework from below.

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NOTE FOR NEWS DESKS

For further information, please contact

Roger Kline ( 0468 69 39 34)

Shaun Noble Press Officer ( (020) 7939 7043)

Mobile ( 0468 69 39 40)

MSF press released can be seen on our web site www.msf.org.uk

 

MSF represents 65,000 health service professionals including the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, laboratory scientific staff, the College of Health Care Chaplains, the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Medical Practitioners’ Union, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, the Hospital Physicists Association and the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association.

MSF has 400,000 skilled and professional members in a wide range of industries.

It is the UK’s fifth largest union.