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Lack of racial and gender diversity in senior nursing roles in England, report reveals

NHS Confederation says health service must take action to address inequality
Black female talking in a boardroom

NHS Confederation says health service must take action to address inequality

There is a notable lack of diversity in senior nursing roles, according to an NHS Confederation report.

It notes that, on average in England, one in five nurses (20%) is from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, but only 3.9% of female chief nurses are from a BAME background (8 out of 182).

The report also highlights that all of the 22 male chief nurses in England are white.

The document, Action for Equality: The Time is Now , was produced on behalf of the NHS Confederations Health and Care Women Leaders Network.

The report covered

NHS Confederation says health service must take action to address inequality  


Picture: iStock

There is a notable lack of diversity in senior nursing roles, according to an NHS Confederation report. 

It notes that, on average in England, one in five nurses (20%) is from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, but only 3.9% of female chief nurses are from a BAME background (8 out of 182).

The report also highlights that all of the 22 male chief nurses in England are white.

The document, Action for Equality: The Time is Now, was produced on behalf of the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network. 

The report covered all 213 NHS trust boards in England, as well as the boards of 13 arms-length bodies. The data was collected in December 2019 and January 2020.

Call for gender equality in top NHS roles

In terms of gender, the report found that less than half (44.7%) of executive and non-executive roles in NHS trusts in England were held by women, and it calls for more progress to achieve gender equality in NHS leadership. 

Recommendations in the report include the need for chairs of NHS organisations to have explicit objectives to support diversity in their boards.

NHS must ‘improve diversity’ 


Danny Mortimer

NHS Confederation deputy chief executive Danny Mortimer, who is also chief executive of NHS Employers, said that although there had been some progress in gender representation, more work needed to be done.

He also warned that ‘the challenge for race and ethnicity is even greater’.

Mr Mortimer added: ‘This report points to the action that national, local and professional leaders can take to improve the diversity of leadership in the NHS.’


Read the report

Action for Equality: The Time is Now


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