Tosca Fairchild heads national NHS/football collaboration to combat racism

Combined Healthcare Assistant Chief Executive, Tosca Fairchild, is heading a new charity campaign highlighting the racial abuse suffered by NHS staff

Show Racism the Red Card – of which Tosca is the national Chair –  is launching a new video this Friday 1 May which follows the stories of frontline NHS staff as they recount their experience of racial discrimination at work. Being made available on YouTube, the charity is hoping its voice is heard by producing a huge thunderclap on social media when the video is launched.

The charity is dedicated to combating racism in society through education, and utilises the high-profile status of football and football players to publicise its message. After survey findings showed that 11% of people have experienced racist behaviour at work, it knew it needed to take action.[1]

The video is below:

Commenting on the new campaign, Tosca said:

Racism is an issue that sadly continues to exist in today’s society and it the responsibility is upon all of us to challenge and fight it.

“As Chair of Show Racism the Red Card and Assistant CEO in the NHS, it is a privilege to bring the two organisations together in a collaboration to highlight and challenge racism in the NHS. 

“I have worked in the NHS for a long time and not only experienced racism myself but have also seen the devastating effects it has on hard working colleagues from a BAME background.  The NHS is dependent on its workforce and simply cannot deliver the high quality care it does without its diverse workforce.

“We only need to look at the staff demographics being highlighted during COVID-19 to appreciate how diverse the NHS workforce is and how NHS staff from a BAME background contribute and dedicate their lives to the NHS – to care for the people of the United Kingdom; with some sadly paying the ultimate price and losing their lives.

“It is my hope that through this work, we will all challenge racism in the NHS, honour those that have lost their lives and remember them when the new normal is here. 

“We must remember that the NHS needs its diverse BAME workforce.  Remember that BAMEs working in the NHS contribute to the NHS. Remember that BAME staff in the NHS are humans. We are all humans.  We are the human race.  Show love not hate. Show racism the red card in the NHS.” 

Scotland skipper Robertson – who is backing the campaign alongside Gary Lineker, Monty Panesar, Chris Kamara and Wes Morgan –  said: “Our NHS are doing a fantastic job during the current coronavirus crisis with some unbelievable work being done by our NHS staff.

“NHS workers should not be subject to racism and all deserve a workplace free from prejudice. Let’s get behind Show Racism the Red Card and support all our key workers.”

Yvonne Coghill, Director in WRES Implementation Team for NHS England, added: “Since its inception in 1948 the NHS has been dependent on its BME workforce to deliver care and services to the population of this country.”

With the NHS already experiencing staff shortages even before the unprecedented stress caused by the ongoing pandemic, the project hopes to highlight that racism within the NHS remains a systemic issue that cannot be ignored, with its survival dependent on its black and minority ethnic (BME) workforce.

Yvonne added: “We are proud that the NHS is one of the most diverse organisations in the country, with one in five of the workforce being from a background other than white British. The contribution that this group of people makes to enable our NHS to be the best healthcare organisation in the world cannot be underestimated, never more than now during the Covid-19 crisis.“It is incumbent on all of us, whoever we are and whatever background we are from to stand up to and call out any kind of discrimination or racism in our service.”

Of those reported to have experienced racism whilst at work in the NHS, 34% said the racism was frequent or regular, whilst 10% said it occurred weekly or even daily. And most worryingly, almost one in 10 (8.8%) of those who answered, left their jobs as a consequence of the racism they experienced.

The NHS has already made marked progress in its fight against discrimination in the workplace and its support for those discriminated against. In 2019, Health Secretary Matt Hancock penned a letter to NHS staff in which he stated that any patients wishing to be treated by a white doctor ‘must be told no’, and that management ‘must and will always back you up.’[2]

However, with ITV News revealing that recorded verbal and physical racist attacks directed at NHS staff had soared by 145% in November 2019, there is more to be done. Indeed, the UNISON survey found that 60% of those who didn’t report the racist behaviour they experienced, felt nothing would be done.

Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) was established in January 1996 and has a 24 year record of producing high quality educational films to combat racism in society. 

 

As well as Liverpool Champions League winner Robertson, ex-England cricketer Panesar, Leicester City’s Premier League winning captain Wes Morgan and well-known pundit and former footballer Kamara have also produced videos in support of the initiative.

[1] https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2019/10/data-race-for-equality/

[2] https://www.itv.com/news/2019-11-06/if-they-want-a-white-doctor-say-no-hancock-writes-to-staff-after-itv-news-finds-shocking-racism-at-hospitals/