Business case for diversity

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02 / 7 / 2014 Midnight

There is growing evidence to support the core role for equality and diversity in how the NHS operates.  The evidence shows that managing diversity is key to:

  • an organisation’s reputation - a good reputation attracts talent from all communities, helping to meet service delivery needs  
  • staff recruitment and retention - valuing diversity enables employers to recruit and retain the best people for the job
  • productivity - staff perform better in organisations that value diversity and are committed to employees' well being
  • mitigating organisational risks - effective diversity  management limits the risk of legal challenges and costly awards.

NHS Staff Management and Health Service Quality report

A report published August 2011, based on the NHS staff survey results further supports the business case for diversity. The researchers analysed how, over time, the experience of NHS staff at work links with performance measures that illustrate the quality of care that NHS trusts deliver. The research highlighted the link between ethnic discrimination against staff and patient satisfaction in the following ways: 

  • The greater the proportion of staff from a black or minority ethnic (BME) background who report experiencing discrimination at work in the previous 12 months, the lower the levels of patient satisfaction.
  • Where there is less discrimination, patients are more likely to say that when they had important questions to ask a nurse, they got answers they could understand and that they had confidence and trust in the nurses.
  • Where there was discrimination against staff, patients felt that doctors and nurses talked in front of them as if they weren’t there; that they were not as involved as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment; and that they could not find someone on the hospital staff to talk to about their worries and fears. Most importantly, they did not feel they were treated with respect and dignity while in hospital.

The report shows that the experience of BME staff is a very good barometer of the climate of respect and care for all within NHS trusts.

The findings reported make it clear that cultures of engagement, positivity, caring, compassion and respect for all – staff, patients and the public ‐ provide the ideal environment within which to care for the health of the nation.

Download the full report from the Department of Health's website 'NHS Staff Management and Health Service Quality'

Support for employers  

We have produced the following materials to support employers in this area.

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