Objectives: This study aims to determine how workplace experiences of National Health Service (NHS) staff varied by ethnicity during the COVID-19 pandemic and how these experiences are associated with mental and physical health at the time of the study. Methods: An online Inequalities Survey was conducted by the Tackling Inequalities and Discrimination Experiences in Health Services study in collaboration with NHS CHECK. This Inequalities Survey collected measures relating to workplace experiences (such as personal protective equipment (PPE), risk assessments, redeployments and discrimination) as well as mental health (Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7)), and physical health (PHQ-15) from NHS staff working in the 18 trusts participating with the NHS CHECK study between February and October 2021 (N=4622). Results: Regression analysis of this cross-sectional data revealed that staff from black and mixed/other ethnic groups had greater odds of experiencing workplace harassment (adjusted OR (AOR) 2.43 (95% CI 1.56 to 3.78) and 2.38 (95% CI 1.12 to 5.07), respectively) and discrimination (AOR 4.36 (95% CI 2.73 to 6.96) and 3.94 (95% CI 1.67 to 9.33), respectively) compared with white British staff. Staff from black ethnic groups also had greater odds than white British staff of reporting PPE unavailability (AOR 2.16 (95% CI 1.16 to 4.00)). Such workplace experiences were associated with negative physical and mental health outcomes, though this association varied by ethnicity. Conversely, understanding employment rights around redeployment, being informed about and having the ability to inform redeployment decisions were associated with lower odds of poor physical and mental health. Conclusions: Structural changes to the way staff from ethnically minoritised groups are supported, and how their complaints are addressed by leaders within the NHS are urgently required.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberoemed-2023-108976
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2024


  • COVID-19
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Health services research
  • Mental Health
  • Occupational Health


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