The NHS is creating hundreds of new positions focused on diversity and inclusion, despite Government calls to reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency in healthcare. The Telegraph has the story.
Officials at NHS England have drawn up plans for three new departments called ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’, ‘People and Culture’ and ‘People and Communities’, with 244 posts across the teams.
The Health Secretary is understood to be “frustrated” by the move and intends to summon health officials to demand explanations for the creation of large departments enforcing “woke doctrines”.
Ministers have repeatedly promised to crack down on bureaucracy, with NHS England ordered to cut its total workforce by up to 40%.
Earlier this year, Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, ordered NHS England to get rid of specific diversity and inclusion roles, as part of efforts to “ensure good value for money”.
The latest move has emerged ahead of the first joint strikes by junior doctors and consultants which NHS bosses have warned will cancel almost all appointments.
NHS waiting lists in England are also at a record high, with 7.7 million people – around one in seven of the population – waiting for treatment.
Plans seen by the Telegraph show the units have a staffing budget of almost £14 million, including 18 senior officials on six-figure salaries.
The departments fall under the auspices of workforce chief Dr. Navina Evans, who is on a salary of more than £200,000.
In March, Mr. Barclay wrote to the heads of 10 arms-length bodies, saying he believed that diversity and inclusion was “everyone’s responsibility and should be picked up through normal management processes and as a part of everyone’s role rather than through the use of external providers or discrete dedicated roles within organisations”.
It followed promises from predecessor Sajid Javid to stamp out “waste and wokery” in the health service.
However, proposals for the NHS’s new structure, to take effect from April 2024, show that it is seeking to create new directorates covering diversity, communities and culture.
Between them, the three departments will employ 244 people, including 177 staff earning at least £50,000 each.
Despite Mr. Barclay’s instructions to get rid of specific roles for diversity and inclusion, the units include a dedicated Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) department, with 50 employees, and staffing costs of £3 million.
The plans say the national EDI team will focus on establishing “policy, knowledge and expertise in areas other than race and disability”.