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Network for BME practice nurses launched

A black person in a mask.


A network for black and minority ethnic practice nurses, and allies, to share experiences and solutions around race equality has been launched.

The network, funded by NHS England through the Ten Point Plan, hopes to build awareness around the race issues, inequality and social injustice that black and minority ethnic (BME) nurses face.

Robana Hussain-Mills, who set up the General Practice Nurse BME network with fellow practice nurse Julie Roye, told Nursing in Practice that the network also aims to provide a safe space for BME practice nurses to share their experiences.

She said: ‘We support members as much as we can, but the onus is also on them to then help themselves and we help enable them to do that.’

As part of the network, a training package of ten webinars is being set up for members on race issues. In addition, champions will be appointed to spread the word about the network in their local area.

Ms Hussain-Mills continued: ‘We also want our champions to be a point of call – that if someone has an issue, they can be signposted to support.’

Covid-19 has ‘drawn attention’ to race inequality, in part because of its disproportionate impact on BME people, she added.

A Public Health England report confirmed death rates from the virus is higher in BME groups, while BME nurses have also reported struggling more than their white counterparts to access PPE

Although, BME nurses were already experiencing inequalities before Covid-19. National data revealed in February, BME nurses are more likely to face discrimination than their white colleagues.

Nursing in Practice is currently conducting a survey to learn more about primary care and community nurses’, and midwives’, experiences of race and equality in their workplace over the past 12 months.

Sign up to the GPN BME network here.