NHS trust tells staff white privilege is ‘going on night out and not being worried you won’t get in’

NHS medics have been told that white privilege includes going on a night out and “not be worried you won’t get in” to a club. 

Doctors and nurses in the NHS Northern Care Alliance, which covers two trusts and nearly 20,000 staff, have been offered a guide on “white privilege, structural racism and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable”. 

The powerpoint presentation, seen by The Telegraph, advocates ideas such as safe spaces and sensitivity training, and lists 13 examples of hidden benefits considered innate for white people. 

One example states: “White privilege is going on a night out and not being worried that you won’t get in because of the colour of your skin.”

Another says white privilege is “not being constantly asked to discuss racism at work, whilst also being censored for your views on racism”.

An analysis by this newspaper found that at least eight NHS trusts across the country and two NHS organisations have published diversity manuals for thousands of staff, covering contested ideas on white privilege, white fragility and white allyship. 

‘Acknowledge your unearned white privileges’

One hand-out on the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust website, with the NHS Sussex trust logo attached, lists 14 ways of “doing white allyship”. These include needing to “notice your biases”, taking “care to correct them”, and acknowledging your “unearned white privileges”. 

It also urges allies to “practice listening quietly”, “avoid defensiveness”, and “thank people who point out your white privilege”. 

Another powerpoint for NHS staff in the Midlands says that as a white ally there are questions you need to ask yourself during meetings, including; “who is sitting next to you? Who is missing? Who could be sitting next to you? Do you use inclusive language?”

The concept of white privilege has proven increasingly controversial, with the landmark Sewell report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities calling for an end to its use earlier this year.

The report called the term “highly controversial and contested”, and also took aim at white fragility, saying this was “counterproductive and divisive” and not supported by evidence.

Baroness Falkner, the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the equalities watchdog, last week called white privilege a “divisive” expression and an “unhelpful way of looking at society”.

White privilege concept creates ‘less cohesive society’

While Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, told this newspaper last month that the white privilege concept “reinforces the notion that everyone and everything around ethnic minorities is racist”, creating a “less cohesive society”.

There has been a push by NHS bosses in recent years to tackle racism, with local NHS leaders required to report and monitor figures on ethnic minority inclusion in workplaces.

Until this month, a 50-question white privilege checklist by NHS Leadership Academy – a training body for medics across the country – was available on the NHS Employers website. 

Official figures show 21 per cent of staff working in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups were black or from ethnic minority backgrounds last year, above the 14 per cent share of the UK population, and those in senior manager roles have increased by 41.7 per cent since 2017. 

NHS England, NHS Northern Care Alliance and Leeds NHS trust declined to comment. 

NHS Leadership Academy said the 50-question checklist was not mandatory and no longer online. 

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