The Government is facing a major backlash over its plan to create a “diversity” policy for NHS staff.
The Department of Health and Social Care has said the new plan is needed because of the NHS’s “challenging” staffing needs.
But a survey by the organisation suggests there are few plans for recruitment of a diverse workforce, with just two out of 10 NHS staff saying they would want to work for an NHS employer with a “white majority” of staff.
It also suggested a “pilot” recruitment strategy would be needed to ensure the NHS could keep up with demand for its services, and the department is currently recruiting staff for its new recruitment and retention strategy.
A spokesperson for the department told the BBC: “It is absolutely vital that the NHS continues to attract the brightest and best in the country to fill key roles within our NHS.”
We have been working hard to identify the brightest, best, most talented people in our profession, and have invested in the recruitment of new staff to take on the critical roles of delivering patient care and ensuring quality outcomes for patients.
“But the survey suggests there is very little focus on recruitment of women, the group of people most likely to be affected by changes.
In addition, the survey found that only a third of the respondents (33%) said they would work in an NHS company with a majority of staff from a different ethnic background.
In the same survey, only 30% of respondents said they wanted to work in a non-government organisation.
Only 6% said they had previously worked for a government organisation.
The new NHS recruitment plan will see recruitment and training for staff at all levels, with more than 80% of those with experience in the NHS wanting to return to their previous employer.
However, the research found that nearly half of those who had worked in an employer with majority ethnic staff wanted to return.
It found that almost two thirds (64%) of those in the non-UK, non-profit sector said they did not want to return, and nearly half (46%) of the non working group were considering their future career options.
However just over a quarter (26%) of all those surveyed had previously been employed by a non government organisation, and only 15% of people who had been working for a non state sector organisation wanted to leave.
The survey found staff from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to want to leave their current employers than those who did not.
The UK Government is aiming to recruit more women to fill the roles of nurses, physiotherapists and social workers, but the survey showed just over half (54%) of respondents were concerned about the number of women they were able to hire.
This follows a report in The Times that found the number the NHS needed to recruit in 2020 had increased by just two staff per year, while the number needing to recruit has risen by almost a quarter.
However there are signs the Government is working to address the issue, with a recent policy announced.
It will make the NHS more “responsive” and “engaged” to the needs of minority groups, in the hopes of increasing recruitment of the workforce.
The policy states: “The Government is committed to ensuring that minority groups are fully represented on all levels of our NHS, including the recruitment and advancement of the most promising talent, and will work with the profession and the private sector to create new roles that reflect the diversity of the population.”