Abuse against non-white staff is a key concern at one of Suffolk's hospital trusts, after it was revealed that 12% more black, Asian and ethnic minority staff are targeted compared to their white colleagues. 

According to a report before the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSNFT) board of directors on Friday, some 34% of non-white staff at the trust had experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public in the last 12 months.

This is 12% higher than the rate for white staff within the trust, which stood at 20%, and an increase of 3% in the last year. 

East Anglian Daily Times: 12% more black, Asian and ethnic minority staff were harassed, abused or bullied than white staff12% more black, Asian and ethnic minority staff were harassed, abused or bullied than white staff (Image: Newsquest)

The report, by Dr Ewen Cameron, chief executive officer, read: "Last year, the Board heard the story of one of our junior doctors who had gone through exactly this experience and told us about not only what it felt like to be on the receiving end of this sort of abuse, but also the negative impact it on their ability to do their job.

"I also got to spend some time talking to one of our nurses who had similarly been subjected to racist and homophobic abuse while at work.

"We are committed to tackling harassment, bullying or abuse in all its forms to make this a fair and equal place to work for all our staff.

East Anglian Daily Times: Dr Ewen Cameron, chief executive officerDr Ewen Cameron, chief executive officer (Image: WSNFT)

"Whilst there’s lots we have done this year to improve the experience of those colleagues who are treated unequally while at work, due to characteristics such as race, disability or sexuality, these results show there is a lot more ground we need to cover."

The data came from the NHS Staff Survey, a national survey to which 46% of eligible WSNFT staff responded.

Nationally, the measure reduced from 31% to 28% meaning the West Suffolk Hospital Trust's figure is 6% above average. 

During discussion of the national survey results, Jeremy Over, executive director of workforce and communications, said: "Really this stands out as something for us to prioritise because it has got worse, not better, whereas the national average has got better." 

Building an "anti-racist organisation to help eliminate discrimination and disadvantage" was listed as one of the 'main action areas' in the trust's People & Culture plan for 2023/24.