We are a team of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) trainees and allies working together to identify areas for change and to drive improvement on NHS healthcare science programmes, including the Scientist Training Programme (STP), the Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) programme, and the Practitioner Training Programme (PTP).
About the network
Our network was developed in August 2020 during lockdown by individuals who saw a systemic problem and wanted to help create change.
Our aim is to influence organisational strategy and policy changes to create an inclusive, diverse, and anti-racist healthcare science workforce.
Our journey began with an Open Letter to the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) signed by over 300 trainees, asking the School to release ethnicity data on STP applicants and offers.
The 2019 data revealed a clear disparity, in which White applicants were ten times more likely to receive an offer than Black applicants. This simply highlights the overarching effects of systemic and institutional racism within the UK.
Misconceptions based on race in healthcare can result in significant harm to patients. Numerous studies show that unconscious racial bias can cause inadequate and inappropriate treatment. This is reflected in shocking statistics – for example:
> Black patients are half as likely to receive pain medication
> Black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth
> Detention rate under the Mental Health Act for the ‘Black or Black British’ group were more than four times higher than those in the ‘White’ group
It is well-recognised that a motivated, included, and valued healthcare workforce enables high quality patient care, increased patient satisfaction, and greater patient safety.
Therefore, we are wholly committed to the development of a diverse and anti-racist healthcare science trainee workforce, through reforming the NSHCS application process and calling for crucial changes to the curriculum. We believe this will bring us closer to improved outcomes for the patients we serve, and potentially save lives.
We hope that our work also improves the experience of BAME trainees throughout their healthcare science training, by creating a multicultural, compassionate, and respectful environment that enables BAME trainees to fulfil their potential of providing outstanding professional care for patients.
We are evolving and learning at every step, and encourage you to reach out and engage with us on this journey. This may include getting involved directly, sending us suggestions or experiences, or – most importantly – starting conversations within your own department.
We are an open and rapidly growing group so feel free to drop us an email to find out how you can get involved, or to share your ideas and perspectives.
We look forward to the change we can make together!
As a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, many of us are dedicating extra time to learning about Black history, racism, and how it relates to our lives today.
If you're interested in learning more, but don't know where to begin, we've put together a few resources to get you started...
Celebrating Black scientists from the past and present
As part of Black History Month 2020, we created profiles of incredible Black scientists from the past and present to share on our Twitter.
Their work has shaped modern healthcare and science, and we enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate, learn, and share their stories with you!
Discover some of these amazing individuals below...