Harrogate health trust boss says BAME staff 'deserve better'

  • Published
Steve RussellImage source, HDFT

The boss of a hospital trust has opened up about racism he experienced, and says BAME colleagues are still treated differently and deserve better.

The chief executive of the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT) shared a message to staff ahead of George Floyd's funeral on Tuesday.

Steve Russell spoke of the racism staff still faced and said the trust was determined to stamp it out.

He said the North Yorkshire trust was deeply committed to ensuring equality.

In the five-minute video that was shared through the trust's social media pages, Mr Russell said what had happened to American George Floyd was a reminder there was still a long way to go to achieve racial equality.

He spoke of being told to "get back in my banana boat" while at school, and said he was frequently one of the people randomly selected for a search at airports and events.

He said: "Other colleagues have told me of experiences when they were told by a patient they didn't want to be treated by a black person and we've moved that colleague away and gone and found a white person to provide treatment instead.

"A colleague has told me about their risk assessment, which was undertaken recently as part of our response to coronavirus, and being told they were having that assessment because people like them 'live in crowded houses'."

'Honest with ourselves'

He also spoke of staff who spent time at work carrying out their religious duties who had been criticised for doing so.

"Our 500-plus BAME colleagues deserve better than this," he said.

"In saying Black Lives Matter, nobody is saying they're more important, or that others aren't. But we have to be honest with ourselves: black people aren't treated equally, and the only way to stop this is through all of us."

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.