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Race and gender shock at University College London Hospital

Report cites 'institutional bias' in resourcing

21 May, 2018 — By Tom Foot

THERE is “institutional bias” at University College London Hospitals, according to an independent report.

A race and gender report presented to the board this week revealed deep-rooted racial and gender inequality. It said that between July 2017 and January 2018 “white shortlisted candidates were 45 per cent more likely to be offered a post than black and ethnic minority candidates”.

The UCLH workforce report said: “For an organisation that has proved itself to be at the vanguard of global recruitment into research and clinical posts, we should be concerned that there is institutional bias in our resourcing approaches.”

It added: there are “multi-faceted” reasons why “inequalities affect candidates be-fore they enter the job market”. The NHS has attempted to improve the balance in its senior manager roles and boardrooms by placing at least one BME panellist for selection interviews. They have also hired consultants and commissioned independent reports. However, the UCLH report said “neither approach is right for us”.

Instead, if any current BME or woman staff applies for a promotion and doesn’t get it, the chair of the interview panel “should complete a one-page de­velopment assessment detailing recommendations that could help the candidate secure such a post in future”. Department directors will then be made to consider what “contribution they could make to invest in that plan” to get them employed in the future.

“We intend to design such a model following consultation internally and with fellow interested trusts,” said the report.

On pay at UCLH, the most senior posts – with salaries over £60,000 – 6 to 8 per cent are BME. The pay gap between men and women in the NHS trust’s very senior management and director posts is 44.6 per cent. “Female staff in these grades earn on average 44.6 per cent less than the average male staff,” said the report. And the board report this month noted a near 50 per cent decline in EU new starters at the hospital this year, compared with the year before the Brexit referendum.

A UCLH statement said: “We are committed to ensuring that our staff groups reflect the diverse community that we serve. We monitor the make-up of our workforce to ensure different groups are represented. We are aware that we need to increase the number of women and BAME people in senior roles and we have been looking at ways to address this. We have made improvements in the past year but we want to increase the pace of change. We are working with our women in leadership network and our BAME network to do this and welcome more feedback on how we can improve.”

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