The Full English Accompaniment – Racism in the NHS

I think it’s hard to be racist whilst working in the NHS, when a full fifth of your colleagues are from BME backgrounds (1). Many of the friends I’ve made through work are first or second-generation immigrants. We’re all as good as each other. Earlier in my medical training I operated on people from all backgrounds; inside we’re all the same.

Without immigrant workers the NHS would have collapsed during COVID-19. Those individuals have been on the end of racial slurs (2). When you’re employed to provide free care for all it’s difficult to turn people away if they insult you. Discrimination by managers has been reported by 15% of BME staff, and bullying by 29% (1, 3). Sadly BME staff are also more likely to be on the end of disciplinary hearings, and less likely to be in managerial positions (3). There are questions over whether the NHS is institutionally racist, and inquiries are starting as BME NHS workers have born the burden of COVID-19 exposure, and subsequent mortality (4, 5).

When we hear racial insults and discrimination in work we call it out when we can. But sometimes they get missed, or staff let it slide. ‘They’re drunk’. ‘They’re old and out of touch’. ‘It doesn’t matter’.

Reading and hearing from Black Lives Matter, I’ve learnt more about the effects of these words. The effects of turning the other cheek all the time. How we become complicit by not calling it out (6). Listening to the BBC Rugby Union podcast on race really brought it home (7).

Outside of work my exposure to racism is very different. I was fortunate to be born in western country, white, to affluent(ish) parents, with good education. I grew up in a country town. My primary school was all white. My first secondary school had a handful of non-white kids. The second school I went to was even whiter. I remember farmer’s sons perpetuating racial stereotypes. These were kids who had never had interactions outside of their small world. We were the kids playing rugby where racial slurs would fly around. Is that stuff still going on? The BBC podcast suggests so.

I remember my grandmother informing me as a small child I would be disowned if I married a non-white person. She came from another time, grew up with staff, from a family wealthy enough that they didn’t need to work. These are the excuses we make. By making excuses we allow it to continue. That isn’t right.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

News:

Opinion:

References:

  1. http://www.nationalhealthexecutive.com/Health-Care-News/nhs-must-tackle-systemic-racism-as-report-shows-staff-discrimination-on-the-rise
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/05/nhs-heroes-and-targets-of-racists
  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-staff-racism-bme-ethnic-england-data-a9340601.html
  4. http://www.irr.org.uk/news/institutional-racism-in-the-nhs-intensifies-in-times-of-crisis/
  5. https://medfiblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/19/positives-and-negatives/
  6. https://indeedably.com/complicit/
  7. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08gh94p
  8. https://www.ft.com/content/4eda8fe4-a100-4b0c-b38a-7ac9f4df4aa8
  9. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-15/morgan-stanley-economists-double-down-on-v-shape-global-recovery
  10. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-8422807/Triple-lock-pension-guarantee-threat-inflation-falls.html
  11. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-8419729/Buyers-return-lockdown-fuel-rise-house-prices.html
  12. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/18/young-trader-dies-by-suicide-after-thinking-he-racked-up-big-losses-on-robinhood.html
  13. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53097572
  14. https://www.reddit.com/r/wallstreetbets/comments/h945ly/dddd_retail_investors_bankruptcies_dark_pools_and
  15. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/19/the-stock-market-may-be-pricey-but-its-nothing-like-the-genuine-market-bubbles-of-the-past.html
  16. https://moneyweek.com/economy/inflation/601534/a-years-worth-of-inflation-in-a-single-month
  17. https://www.finumus.com/blog/google-skynet-hedge
  18. https://igniting-fire.com/2020/06/14/revisiting-the-race-for-fire/
  19. https://www.onemillionjourney.com/global-index-funds/
  20. https://www.foxymonkey.com/pay-for-cash/
  21. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/06/scottish-american-investment-company-built-for-resilience/
  22. https://drfire.co.uk/investing-demystified/
  23. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2020/06/16/ermine-egging-on-the-economy/
  24. https://earlyretirementnow.com/2020/06/17/passive-income-through-option-writing-part-5/
  25. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/06/sse-full-year-results.html
  26. https://indeedably.com/deuce/
  27. https://youngmoneyblog.co.uk/debt-covid19/
  28. https://monevator.com/income-or-capital-growth-us-uk/
  29. https://monevator.com/walter-schloss/
  30. https://monevator.com/negative-interest-rates/
  31. https://awaytoless.com/the-benefit-of-salary-sacrifice-pensions/
  32. https://pathtolife2.com/2020/06/20/unlikely-topic-of-conversation-1-quantitative-easing/
  33. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.com/2020/06/20/6-months-6-ways-to-save-the-planet/
  34. https://thefifox.wordpress.com/2020/06/18/investing-strategy-the-barbell-approach/
  35. https://firevlondon.com/2020/06/18/how-sustainable-is-your-investing/
  36. https://lifeafterthedailygrind.com/less-choice-not-more-makes-for-a-happy-life/
  37. https://thesavingninja.com/something-happened/
  38. http://bankeronfire.com/how-to-lose-your-job-in-10-years
  39. http://bankeronfire.com/pedal-to-the-metal-how-to-build-wealth-in-your-40s

6 thoughts on “The Full English Accompaniment – Racism in the NHS

  1. The NHS is very interesting because most of us only get fleeting glimpses of it and don’t get the full picture.
    My opinion is that BAME/ethnic minorities are more present in the NHS than the rest of the workforce and as you say, without them the NHS would have collapsed with Coronavirus.
    The contribution made by these people is often ignored – not just in the NHS but in the care sector too.
    I’ve even heard of a nursing home resident complaining about the foreigners working there – but the truth is that the locals don’t want to work for low pay and the low status. They also complained about their kids never visiting (so go figure.)
    Is the NHS institutionally racist? I would hope that it’s not more racist than anywhere else – which is a sort of least worst option isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Re the Moneyweek article at Ref 16 – food & non-alcoholic drinks make up less than 10% of UK CPI and is currently (May 2020) running at 2.6% PA.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice post. Enjoyed reading your perspective. Thanks for the shout out also.

    My usual approach is to consider whether taking a stand is a productive approach. Often, it is anything but.

    That being said, not taking a stand can be even more counterproductive.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I heard someone use the term, ingrained racism, and I prefer that to institutional as I think the issues lie with people rather than process. That said, systemic change is needed and I like the message of your piece.

    Liked by 1 person

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