Black History Month

Abstract circular pattern in red, yellow and green, alongside the words "Educate and celebrate: Black History Month"

Black History Month has been celebrated widely for many years within the NHS through honoring the achievements, culture and history of black people.

This year the restrictions placed by the impact of COVID-19 has meant many organisations will not be having face-to-face events, but instead will be finding innovative ways to mark Black History Month with virtual meet-ups and online events.

Detailed below is a summary of statistics, examples of activities that are taking place in the NHS and a list of organisations that can provide support.

Key facts, figures and information about the NHS workforce *

  • 6.1 per cent of staff in the NHS identify as being from a black background
  • 4.6 per cent of the medical workforce and 6.3 per cent of the non-medical workforce in the NHS are from a black background
  • 1.2 per cent of very senior managers working in the NHS are black
  • 3.5 per cent of senior managers (bands 8a-9) and 6.7 per cent (bands 5-7) identify as black
  • 3.5 per cent of senior doctors, 6.2 per cent of junior doctors and 2.06 per cent of other doctors are from black backgrounds

* Figures taken from the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard Report 2019

What’s happening in the NHS during Black History Month

  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has created a webpage celebrating the contribution of their African and Caribbean staff and the black people who have contributed to the organisation and community locally.
  • Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust have organised a series of themed events ranging from showing racism the red card to celebrating inspirational black staff from their trust.
  • The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has produced a series of podcasts called Nursing whilst black with the aim of showcasing the diverse voices across nursing today.
  • Similarly the RCN North West have organised a virtual Black History Month Power, Voice, and Influence conference on 15 October 2020. It will celebrate, empower and embrace the talents of the black, Asian and minority ethnic workforce in health and social care across the North West.
  • The RCN London will be celebrating BAME Rising Stars which is an integral part of their celebrations.
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership’s BAME Staff Network has published a podcast Can You Hear Me? The conversation is centered around workforce issues and the experience of being from a black, Asian and minority ethnic community in the health and care workforce.
  • Coventry and Warwick Partnership NHS Trust has organised a virtual conference on the 21 October 2020 involving a range of speakers including Paul Deemer, head of diversity and inclusion, NHS Employers talking about black words matter.
  • North East London Foundation Trust will be hosting their annual Black History month celebration event on the 19 November 2020.
  • Read details of how the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be celebrating inclusivity throughout the month of October.

Further information 

  • The official Black History Month UK listing - this website provides information on an extensive range of events taking place across the UK to entertain, inform and inspire.
  • NHS Confederation BME Leadership Network - this network was set up to work on the diversity and inclusion agenda to improve the representation of BME staff and raise their profile.
  • Resources to tackle racism and discrimination - NHS Employers has collated a range of useful resources which can be used to help aid conversations and to implement change.
  • Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) - since 2015 all NHS organisations have been required to demonstrate how they are addressing race equality issues in a range of staffing areas through the WRES.
  • Improving race equality in the NHS infographic - NHS Employers has published an infographic which highlights findings from the 2019 WRES report and provides key actions for improving race equality in the NHS.
  • BAME ambassadors project case study - NHS Employers has published a case study featuring North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and how they developed a pilot to work with regional BAME organisations to recruit ambassadors and raise awareness of employment opportunities and services available.
  • NEAS leaders pledge to act against racism by the book - senior managers across the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) have pledged to raise the profile of race equality in the service and started by launching a book club with around two dozen titles on race and racism.
  • Campaign honours BAME contribution on NHS Birthday - the Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) has released a special collage of BAME nurses and midwives working on the frontline during COVID-19 to mark the 72nd birthday of the NHS..
  • NHS Chief Executive pays tribute to essential contribution of Windrush generation - the head of the NHS in England Sir Simon Stevens marked Windrush Day 2020 by committing the NHS to drive further improvements in race equality across the health service.
  • Black nurses and midwives instrumental in helping shape the NHS of today - the Chief Nursing Officer for England has previously shared the amazing achievements and notable milestones of black nurses and midwives over the past 70 years.
  • Time to speak up: some necessary words about racism - Tracie Jolliff, national head of inclusive leadership and system development at NHS England and NHS Improvement provides an overview of the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement and what this means for the NHS.

During October keep an eye on our website and Twitter using hashtags #EducateCelebrate #BlackHistoryMonth as we join in the celebrations, share stories and resources.

Should you have any queries please contact



Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Log In