Labour Research November 2004

Equality news

New NHS post to tackle racism

The UK's largest health union, UNISON, has welcomed the appointment of the NHS's first director of equality and human rights.

Surinder Sharma will have the task of tackling racism in the health service. His brief is to ensure the equal treatment of ethnic minority staff, and to root out inequalities in all aspects of health and social care delivery.

Sharma joins the NHS - the UK's largest employer of black and Asian people - from Ford Europe, where he was European Diversity Director.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said that Sharma's greatest challenge "will be to get NHS leaders to acknowledge institutional racism and then to begin the task of rooting it out." He added that UNISON would work with the new equality director to ensure that NHS employers are complying with race legislation, particularly in terms of monitoring the workforce.