Zero Discrimination Day 2024

1st March is Zero Discrimination Day, a day to celebrate the right of everyone to live a full, healthy, and productive life, and be able to live it with dignity.

Zero Discrimination Day highlights how people can become informed about and promote inclusion, compassion, peace and above all, a movement for change. Reports from the UN show that inequality is continually growing for more than 70% of the global population which in turn exacerbates the risks of division, while hampering economic and social development.

Discrimination, unfortunately, exists in every part of life, whether that is in social situations, work, or healthcare. Discrimination against age, race, sexuality, and class is certainly not unheard of in any walk of life. It is important to say “no” to this type of discrimination and inequalities. 

Discrimination against race is still a huge issue in the workplace, with a staggering 70% of people saying they feel that they have been discriminated against in the work environment due to their race, with 60% also saying they feel that they have been subjected to unfair treatment by their employer due to it. This is something that extends to the NHS, with 99.6% of NHS trusts reporting that a higher percentage of employees from an ethnic background have experienced discrimination at work compared to white staff. A report published in 2023 by the University of Manchester found that applicants from ethnic minorities were less successful than their white counterparts when it came to getting a job in the NHS, while the University College London found a fifth of NHS workers they surveyed said they have considered leaving their role within the NHS due to discrimination.

Despite the need to be inclusive and compassionate, discrimination exists in healthcare due to aspects such as race, disability, and gender. Patients have reported feeling as though they are given worse treatment due to their race, with 22% of patients having reported this. 18% of patients have also reported experiencing ‘ableism’ when seeking healthcare and often feel like second-class citizens. Patients also feel that discrimination extends to gender, with women sharing experiences of not being taken seriously, especially when it comes to women’s health issues. 

In all walks of life, it is important to try to be as inclusive as possible no matter someone’s race, disability, age, or gender. The NHS is looking to tackle discrimination in a number of ways, this includes:

  • Improving understanding of the depth and complexity of the issue
  • Being prepared to be held accountable and hold others to account
  • Acknowledging the problem and taking this seriously through demonstrable action
  • Creating equality of opportunity for under-represented groups if in a position of power and privilege.

The NHS has also set up a number of different resources for employees in order to tackle discrimination, some of which you can find below:

NHS Employers diversity and inclusion partners programmethe programme aims to support health and care organisations to create more inclusive workplace cultures.

The NHS Health and Race Observatory – the observatory works to identify and tackle ethnic inequalities in health and care.

Staff networks – The NHS has a range of staff networks to improve employee experience and organisation culture.

There are also ways in which you can tackle discrimination in the workplace, you can find these here.

Created by Siobhan Smith
Siobhan Smith
Siobhan is the Content Engagement Lead at FPM Group. She maintains our social media channels, email campaigns and writes articles relating to the UK Health and Care sector.


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