Is there BAME discrimination in the NHS?

Posted by Sanshika Bhardwaj | Wed, 17 Feb 2021

One of our YSA participants recently took part in a competition exploring BAME discrimination in the NHS. Read more about it below, and click the link to read their winning acceptance speech!

I was fortunate to recently take part in an amazing opportunity during the “Black Lives Matter Movement”. This was a competition in which I addressed the question of “Whether the NHS consciously or subconsciously discriminates against Black and Ethnic Minorities”. This was an invaluable opportunity for which I won the competition and got my work published in a national magazine as well as presenting my research findings to a group of aspiring medics and allied aspiring healthcare workers. 

Working on this competition for 2 weeks meant that I was able to use many secondary sources and critically appraise cited research papers and then further cite them into my paper. Using these citations meant that my work was also trustworthy. The initial part of my research was finding out about conscious bias NHS towards NHS staff and patients. Several findings showed me that conscious bias in the NHS is prevalent despite a healthcare sector such as the NHS being completely neutral and non-judgmental. This conscious bias can have devastating effects on patients and NHS staff often also affecting their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis as well as their own mental and physical health. 

The second part of my research was on unconscious bias that occurs in the NHS towards patients and staff from a BAME background. This is an interesting part of my research as I found out that every individual has an unconscious bias and no matter their professionalism and non-judgmental attitude, an unconscious bias exists and can play a role in the attitude of that healthcare professional that they may not notice but can have lasting effects on the other individual. This is the sort of bias that will require a revolution in our societal thinkings in order to change this. Subconscious bias however is a challenge that will play its role in the long run.

My third and final part of the research project was finding a solution to these prejudices that do occur in our healthcare system. Conscious bias is something that prevails in our society but is a factor that can be easily removed if everyone works together. The first steps are to identify these biases and make a change in your own behaviour and thinking. It is important to stop making assumptions upon stereotypes and try learning from the diverse opportunities available. From a wider community basis, more funding will be required to change thinking and educate people further. First, we need to eradicate conscious bias and then we can work on the next step of removing unconscious bias. Though one step at a time!


Click here to read Sanshika’s winning acceptance speech


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