Supported by the Commission for Racial Equality and the NHS Executive, the conference aims to shape standards for racial equality, develop ideas for recruiting black and ethnic minority staff and to share strategies for change. It will provide a forum for NHS chief executives, human resources directors, board members and UNISON members to exchange experience and address the key issues facing the future of the NHS.
Health secretary Frank Dobson will be the keynote speaker. Other contributors will include Zahida Manzoor, deputy chair of the CRE; Elizabeth Al-Khalifa, head of Equal Opportunities Unit, NHS Executive; Robert Maxwell chief executive of the King's Fund; and bob Abberley, UNISON head of health.
Commenting on this high-profile event, UNISON head of health Bob Abberley said: 'Black and ethnic minority people make up just 3.9 per cent of NHS staff, with the vast majority clustered in lower grades. And the quality of working life for these staff tends to be significantly worse than for their white counterparts. They are more likely to face job segregation, poor mobility and racial harassment for patients and colleagues.
The conference will be held at Congress House, Great Russell Street, WC1, on Tuesday 7 October from 10.30am to 4.30pm, followed by a reception with a jazz band.