Workforce Disability and Race Equality Standard 2023 reports

NHS England has published its annual WDES and WRES reports for NHS trusts and foundation trusts.

18 March 2024

The NHS Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) 2023 report shares data measured against ten metrics that compare the working and career experiences of disabled and non-disabled staff working across the NHS. The latest figures show a small increase in disability declaration from staff.  According to the NHS Staff Survey, nearly 1 in 4 of our NHS workforce has lived experience of a disability or long-term condition, so disability inclusion must be regarded as a key aspect of staff retention. 

The NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) 2023 report highlights the experience of black and minority ethnic (BME) people working in the NHS. It provides an overview of the data on all nine WRES indicators and, where possible, comparison against data from previous years. As of March 2023, 26.4 per cent of the NHS workforce are BME.  

Both reports show there is still work to be done. 27.5 per cent of BME staff reported experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from staff in the last 12 months and 24.8 per cent of disabled staff reported the same, showing very little improvement since 2022.  

The WDES 2023 report notes that organisations who participated in the Diversity in Health and Care Partners Programme showed improvement across three separate metrics. 

Joan Saddler, director of partnerships and equality, NHS Confederation said: 

“As the WRES data shows, BME applicants are still less likely to be appointed than their white counterparts and we know BME staff remain more likely to be subject to disciplinary processes. Similarly, the WDES data shows that disabled staff are also twice as likely to enter the formal capability process. It is crucial that these leaders and staff remain supported to carry out their roles without fear of discrimination or harassment. It is not enough to just recruit people, we have to engage and retain them. 
We are also pleased that declaration of disability has slightly increased, however it remains far below staff survey levels. It is crucial that staff are able to work and lead as their authentic selves, but there is still huge progress to be made in representation of people with disabilities in senior leadership roles."

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