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Monday, March 8, 1999 Published at 18:56 GMT


Nurses tackle racism

Black nurses face discrimination

Nurses leaders have launched a campaign to wipe out racism from the profession.

Nursing 99
Royal College of Nursing president Christine Watson highlighted the on-going problem of racism in her address to the conference on Monday.

She said one of the most important challenges facing the RCN was to tackle inequalities.

"Racism in the health service still exists," she said.

"You are more likely to find black nurses still on C and D grades for longer than their white colleagues.

"You are more likely to find black nurses working night duty, and less likely to find black nurses promoted into specialist areas.

"We need to change the trend, we need to challenge racism and change the culture."

Studying for equality

Ms Watson said the RCN was developing a concrete plan of action to tackle problems in the NHS, including an equality audit of all services to make sure they represented all their members.

Bob Abberley, head of health for public service union Unison, said: "Black and ethnic minority people make up just 3.9% of NHS health staff and a vast majority are clustered in low grades.

"The quality of working life for these staff tends to be significantly worse than for their white counterparts.

"They are more likely to face job segregation, poor mobility and racial harassment from patients and colleagues.

"Unison is committed to wiping out racial discrimination in the health service."

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