A new qualitative study of the experiences of maternity and children’s healthcare professionals during the pandemic has theorised that discrimination amongst NHS staff is more complex than the traditional notion of racism based on skin colour.
The study findings suggest that micro-aggressions between so-called ‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’, were prevalent, defined not just by ethnicity, but by other social determinants, especially where staff were trained (i.e., in or outside the UK).
Responding to the study, Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“We welcome the recommendations of this study which highlights the evolution of discrimination experienced by some NHS healthcare professionals within maternity services and children’s health. This follows on from the recent reports by Birthrights and FiveXMore which have highlighted the racism experienced by women accessing maternity services across the UK. It is unacceptable that women and healthcare professionals are discriminated against, and these attitudes have no place in our society, especially in a healthcare setting.
“The RCOG is striving to ensure racism and bias is eliminated within obstetrics and gynaecology through our Race Equality Taskforce. We are committed to working together with policy makers and healthcare providers to address discrimination, bias and poor behaviours by improving training for doctors and ensuring we are attracting a diverse and anti-racist workforce at every level of the NHS.”