Black Lives Matter training among new diversity courses offered to NHS staff

·4-min read
Black Lives Matter protesters pictured in Hyde Park in June - Getty
Black Lives Matter protesters pictured in Hyde Park in June - Getty

NHS England staff are being offered training on the Black Lives Matter movement despite the Health Secretary’s crackdown on "wokery", The Telegraph can disclose.

New diversity courses available for health and care staff on the NHS People website cover white privilege, unconscious bias, "authentic allyship" and the intersectionality between race and gender.

One internal course, seen by The Telegraph, is on the history, guiding principles and key messages of the controversial BLM group, with a link to an interview with its founders.

BLM is described in the course as a “healing” movement that works to "eradicate white supremacy" and "its prime focus is to expose and challenge anti-blackness in its multiple manifestations".

Medics are urged to look at NHS policies through a BLM lens since the murder of George Floyd in the US, as this would be “useful” in fuelling better racial equity in the health service.

"BLM's philosophy would encourage the NHS to critically evaluate its organisations and practices to address the systemic barriers which have retained and relegated BME nurses to the lower tiers of the nursing hierarchy for decades," the online training explains.

The latest diversity drive comes despite Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, telling parliamentarians this month he would be “watchful for any waste or wokery” from the NHS following the tax hike to fund healthcare.

Sajid Javid said he would be 'watchful for any waste or wokery' - PA
Sajid Javid said he would be 'watchful for any waste or wokery' - PA

A Government insider raised concern that the NHS description of BLM failed to mention the contentious calls from some supporters to defund the police.

“Managers, nurses and doctors are being indoctrinated with deadly doses of dodgy diversity and pernicious propaganda — all at the taxpayers’ expense,” a Whitehall source said.

In another of the four NHS People diversity courses, medics are warned: "You may lose 'friends' as you commit to anti-racist allyship".

As part of this process, the course suggests: “With fellow white people, honestly explore how racism privileges you and how racism injures BME [black and minority ethnic] people”.

The course adds: "To become authentic allies who will be in the struggle for the long haul, white people will need to deliberately and honestly work on understanding white culture and white privilege. [...] White people will need to see themselves as racial beings."

Understanding white privilege

Other modules include exercises on “what is white privilege” and the “importance of understanding your personal privilege”.

The revelations come after it emerged that the NHS diversity tsar Prerana Issar, the chief people officer, earned £35,000 more than the recently departed NHS chief executive.

According to accounts for 2019 to 2020, Ms Issar earned between £230,000 and £235,000 - more than her former boss Sir Simon Stevens and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Danielle Boxall of the Taxpayers Alliance said: "Taxpayers expect their money to be focused on improving frontline NHS services, not wasted on woke causes.

"There are already extensive laws to prevent discrimination in the workplace so training programmes like this should not be required.

"With the upcoming spending review, ministers should cut back on these controversial courses and save much-needed funds."

Use of taxpayers' money

Meanwhile, Sir John Hayes, the chairman of the Common Sense Group of more than 50 Tory MPs, has written to Mr Javid asking whether taxpayers’ money is being “squandered on woke propaganda”.

He labelled it “grossly inappropriate” for the health service to be “propagating the work of radical critical race theorists and peddling the dangerously divisive notions of collective racial guilt and collective racial oppression”.

His letter was prompted by a blog post on the NHS Leadership Academy website, titled “Dear white people in the UK”, which advised white staff to be uncomfortable when discussing issues of race.

The Telegraph then revealed how NHS leaders had been told in a series of online seminars on “whiteness” and racial justice this year that speaking with a “cottage cream-thick English accent” was an example of privilege.

While almost one-fifth of NHS staff are from ethnic minorities – compared to 14 per cent of the UK population – they are under-represented in many senior roles.

An NHS spokesman said: "The NHS continues to improve recruitment, retention and patient care by ensuring all staff feel valued and supported."

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