NHS organisations across England are now required to comply with a new Workforce Race Equality Standard, which was developed by Middlesex University Research Fellow Roger Kline.
Performance is being judged against a number of measures of workforce equality, including a specific indicator to ensure that boards are representative of the communities they serve.
The development of the standard follows research published by Roger in 2014 that showed just eight per cent of London NHS Trust board members were from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds. Worryingly, research also shows that when BME staff are treated unfairly patient care is compromised.
Alongside the standard, the NHS Equality Delivery System toolkit will also become mandatory and NHS regulators the Care Quality Commission, the Trust Development Agency and Monitor will use both of these initiatives to assess whether NHS organisations are being managed adequately.
"The Workforce Race Equality Standard encourages, and where necessary requires, all NHS providers to treat all black and minority ethnic staff fairly and ensure their full talents are used," Roger commented.
"It is intended to prompt and, where necessary, require organisations to investigate the root causes of such differences and narrow them. It is good news for patients and for staff that NHS organisations have adopted this groundbreaking evidence-based approach."
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, added: "We know that care is far more likely to meet the needs of all the patients we're here to serve when NHS leadership is drawn from diverse communities across the country.
"These new mandatory standards will help NHS organisations to achieve these important goals."