Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
The College of Paramedics was delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide evidence in the form of a round table discussion to the Commission during their evidence-gathering phase of the report’s formation. This enabled those members with lived experience to share their personal, and often difficult, stories with members of the Commission in the hope that this would make a tangible difference for future paramedic students and graduates of the profession.
We appreciate the level of evidence that the Commission gathered in order to write and analyse their report across a number of specific areas, but we feel the findings were widely misaligned with those of our members from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. However, whilst we feel this was, at best, a missed opportunity to highlight some of the realities of being a paramedic from a diverse background, the College of Paramedics has an exceptional Diversity Steering Group (DSG) who are passionate, dedicated and committed to making a different and more equitable process for those who come after them.
As we at the College have stated, we need actions, not words, however well-intentioned. The College developed its Belonging and Inclusion strategy in line with its five-year strategic aims and are making progress against this, although we recognise we need to do more. The College secured the services of an Equality and Diversity Advisor in Bo Escritt who has supported much of the work in guiding the DSG, the staff and the Board of Trustees in all matters relating to adopting change and making us scrutinise ourselves much more critically. We have actively made changes in many of our areas of work and acknowledge, whilst we continue to be a `work in progress’, we are absolutely committed to making a difference and encouraging a more diverse and representative workforce, both within the College itself and through collaboration with the employers of paramedics, wherever they work.
We appreciate and value our members, therefore, whilst the report is not reflective of their experiences and feelings, we remain deeply committed to continuing our own journey to make positive change.
Race and Ethnic Disparities Report – A Statement from the Diversity Steering Group
Thank you for providing the College of Paramedics’ Diversity Steering Group (DSG) the opportunity to respond to the report on Race and Ethnic Disparities.
The College’s Diversity Steering Group (DSG) would like to make it emphatically clear, that we do not agree with the findings of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, that institutional racism does not exist and is not one of the reasons for the inequalities, that black and ethnic minority people face, in the UK today.
We find that this view bears no resemblance to the lived experiences of those in our group, as well as many other College of Paramedics members, from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, including those that gave evidence to the Commission.
We know from past government reviews, research data, and the lived experience of black and minority ethnic people, that racism is experienced on a number of levels, including systemic and institutional racism, in many areas of their lives, including employment, education, health inequality and accessing of health care.
We would all wish for the narrative to be different and that our structures and systems were fairer for all. Unfortunately, instead of making recommendations to dismantle racism at every level, the report aims to change the narrative without doing the work. It is our view that this amounts to denial of one of the core roots of inequality. We feel that this report has missed a great opportunity to make a positive impact, and that there are political motivations behind its conclusion.
A member of the College of Paramedics who gave evidence to the Commission responded:
Having read the report, I am disappointed with the overall findings as the Commission had a wealth of lived examples demonstrating the gap in equality between white and non-white demographics. While I agree in part with some, the recommended actions they have proposed are nothing new to those in healthcare, as many of the recommendations have already been voiced over the last decade and ignored. This leaves very little confidence that these will be taken forward in any serious capacity simply because it is the findings of the commissioners.
[…] In my opinion the outcome was predetermined, by central government, to minimise the very real issues we see and face every day across the country, in every corner of industry.
One of our strong concerns is that the report gives organisations a defence to the abdication of their responsibilities in tackling institutional racism, by denying its very existence. We believe that doing nothing is not an option.
We are reassured that the College of Paramedics will continue the work it has started through the Belonging and Inclusion Strategy and action plan. It will be vigorously supported by the DSG to work towards a fairer and inclusive College, for all its members and staff, and work in partnership with other organisations to eradicate inequality and aim for a fairer society for all.
The College of Paramedics acknowledges that it still has a long way to go, as does the profession, as well as the organisations that regulate, employ, and educate the profession.
This statement is supported by all members of the College of Paramedics Diversity Steering Group:
Islam Faqir (Chair), Gemma Howlett, Colm Buckley, Matondo Manzeninga, Rebecca Connolly, Maisie Williams, Sharon Hardwick, James Bridge, Graham Clark, Bo Escritt, Imogen Carter