Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff working in NHS hospitals have been told to use “Western work names” because theirs were too difficult to pronounce, an inspection has revealed.
Workers at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust (UHBW), which runs the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol Children’s Hospital and Weston General, were told by managers to “adopt” a Western-sounding name while at work.
The behaviour was revealed during an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and reported to the trust’s chief executive, Robert Woolley, in a post-inspection feedback letter.
“It’s not funny”
“We were concerned to hear from staff that they have been told by line managers to adopt a ‘Western work name’ as the pronouncing of their name was too difficult.
“This is not acceptable, individuals can only truly thrive in a work environment where they feel safe as themselves and belong rather than having to ‘fit in’,” the CQC letter read.
Speaking at a board meeting following the inspection, Mr Woolley said managers may have made the comments to BAME staff members because they “think it’s funny, but it’s not funny”.
He added that the behaviour was “really quite concerning” and classed it as a form of “micro-aggression”.
The report comes as the UK’s leading health organisations demand an end to the abuse endured by healthcare workers during the pandemic, calling on the public to join them.
Their stance was triggered by the trolling suffered by Royal College of Midwives (RCM) chief executive Gill Walton following her work to convince pregnant women to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
She faced a torrent of abuse online, as did many other leading medics working to boost uptake of the jab among younger age groups.
A selection of tweets screenshotted by the RCM compared Ms Walton and other nurses to serial killer Myra Hindley and the Nazis.
Elsewhere, president of the Doctors’ Association UK and Good Morning Britain regular Dr Samantha Batt-Rawdon said she had also had to block dozens of accounts.
She tweeted: “I am really sorry but I’ve had to start blocking people. @Twitter should be a safe space for doctors to speak up about the importance of vaccination but all we have got back is a wall of abuse.
“Frankly this is the last thing any of us need right now.”