Johns, Nick Books

Nick Johns is Lecturer in Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Plymouth. He obtained his Ph.D. from the same academic institution.

How the British National Health Service Deals with Ethnic Diversity
2006 0-7734-5733-X
Drawing from a national mail survey of NHS trusts and a complementary case study, this book provides a valuable insight into the experiences of minority ethnic communities both as patients and staff members in the NHS. It charts the nature of the problems they face, from language barriers to cultural misunderstandings. Issues of discrimination are explored and a unique insight is provided into the perceptions of a range of NHS staff in relation to the political climate in the wake of the Macpherson Report (1999). A fresh perspective is offered from the point of view of users into the concept of institutional racism, which questions the unwitting nature of prejudice as defined in the Report.

Although the study looked at a variety of policies designed to improve the services provided to minority ethnic communities, including telephone interpreting services, link working, and cultural awareness training, the primary focus is equality of opportunity. Building on a tradition of research, the study provides substantial evidence about the introduction and implementation of equal opportunities policies, and particularly those informed by positive action.

The research seeks to bridge the gap between workforce policies and service provision as identified by authors such as Collier (1998), in doing so it manages to cover the three levels of effective equality action (Dreaschlin et al 2004). While public policy is centrally importance to the furtherance of equal opportunities, it is vital not to ignore the role of organizations and of individual action in this respect. This study demonstrates the tensions that exist between the three levels of action and the difficulties of producing workable top-down policies.

One of the ways in which greater equality of opportunity has been promoted since the mid 1990s is through the language of diversity. The Labour government came to power voicing the desire to achieve a better representation of minority ethnic groups in the upper echelons of society. Many benefits have been linked to diversity, but most importantly of all that services will improve through greater sensitivity and empathy. The principal contribution of the book is to explore these assumptions and to seek to clarify what ethnic diversity means in theory and practice.