Dear colleagues,

We are saddened to read the findings from the British Medical Association (BMA) following their recent racism in medicine survey. 76% of respondents said they had been subjected to at least one incident of racist behaviour in the past two years, with 17% stating they experienced it regularly.

The survey also highlights that nearly 60% of doctors who experienced racism said that the incident had a negative impact on their wellbeing, with nearly 20% of doctors stating they have either considered leaving or left their job due to race discrimination.

We understand that this is a reality for many medics across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and it is important that we recognise and support those who have experienced racism when they are doing their jobs.

As an Integrated Care System (ICS), we are committed to being anti-racist with zero tolerance of prejudice and discrimination within South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, and we want our workplaces to be somewhere safe, where all staff and colleagues feel respected and supported in every role.

Kathryn Singh, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Senior Responsible Officer for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS is clear about the anti-racist actions and responsibilities we have: “As employers we have a duty of care to our colleagues and to address concerns being raised from those who work in our services.

“We know from the work we are undertaking across SYB ICS on our equality, diversity and inclusion agenda that frequent occurrences of racism and discrimination take place. We must stand together, united in our efforts to tackle any form of behaviour that discriminates, demoralises and undermines our people; people who have chosen a career to support and to care for others.”

It is clear that culture changes must be driven and delivered from our boards and senior leaders who demonstrate the behaviours expected and needed – collectively and individually. The Inclusive Cultures programme across SYB ICS is just one of the approaches we are using to build a partnership-wide culture that fosters mutual learning, respect and appreciation of professional, personal and cultural similarities and differences. The aim of this particular programme is to increase the confidence, capability and capacity of both aspiring and senior leaders as inclusive compassionate leaders.

There is clearly much to do. We will use the full report, together with the experiences of those working across South Yorkshire, and the Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard data to address the findings.

It is essential we continue to address both structural racism and the racial inequalities faced in our services, alongside wider efforts to ensure a fair experience for all Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff working in the NHS.

The Race Equality Staff Networks across our system are committed to tackling these issues and we encourage colleagues impacted by recent events to seek support through them.

Whether you work in a hospital, community, mental health or primary care team you can also visit the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Health and Wellbeing Hub, where you can find support and services available to all health and care colleagues across the region.

If you have suffered racism at work, please do raise this with your senior leaders. We appreciate that this can be difficult and if you are not getting the support you need, you are welcomed to come directly to us to discuss your experiences.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin Boyle, South Yorkshire ICB Chief Executive (designate)

Prof Des Breen, South Yorkhsire and Bassetlaw ICS Medical Director

Kathryn Singh, RDaSH NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive

You can view the full letter here.