In plans seen by the Telegraph, the NHS has proposed three new departments – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, People and Culture, and People and Communities.
There will be 244 roles recruited for across the departments, despite Mr Barclay writing to health bodies in March demanding diversity and inclusion be covered within ‘normal management processes’ rather than by specific teams.
A source close to Mr Barclay described teams dedicated to equality as ‘enforcing woke doctrines’ and the Health Secretary himself urged NHS England to get rid of the roles to ‘ensure good value for money’.
It comes as NHS waiting lists in England soar to a record high, with 7.68million – or one in seven people – waiting for routine treatment.
In plans seen by the Telegraph, the NHS has proposed three new departments – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, People and Culture, and People and Communities
Almost £14million has been budgeted to staff the new D&I departments – which are set to take effect from April of next year. There is a staffing budget of £3million for a specific Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) department.
Of the 244 roles, 177 of those hired will be on a salary of more than £50,000.
The new EDI department is set to focus on ‘policy, knowledge and expertise in areas other than race and disability’, while other new departments, People and Culture, and People and Communities, will look at inclusion – such as LGBT health and inequalities.
A source close to the Health Secretary described the move as ‘rejigging backroom bureaucracy rather than frontline patient care’.
Despite calling for focus on patient care, Mr Barclay has cut one in six civil servant roles from the Department for Health since October, reducing the workforce by around 600 employees.
Frank Young, a director at right-wing think tank Civitas, claimed: ‘Most ordinary people will be aghast to yet again see money being spent on equalities advisers that could be spent treating sick people in hospitals.’
Mr Young also claimed the new roles would ‘likely’ come at the cost of ‘genuine delivery of healthcare to patients’, though he provided no evidence for this claim.
It comes as NHS waiting lists in England soar to a record high, with 7.68million – or one in seven people – waiting for routine treatment (file photo)
The increase in equalities role in the NHS comes after the Independent revealed in January that the health service had failed to improve on ‘shocking’ levels of racism among staff.
As much as one in three black workers said they had faced discrimination or bullying, compared to just one in five white staff members. It was found rates had not improved over the last five years.
An NHS spokesman said: ‘While there are legal duties on equality the NHS has to meet, and they have an important contribution to make in retaining and recruiting the hundreds of thousands of NHS staff needed to care for patients now and in the future, the number of EDI roles in NHS England has actually reduced by more than a third over the last year as part of our efforts to ensure an even greater proportion of NHS funding reaches the front line.’
MailOnline has approached NHS England and the DHSC for comment.
Source: Mail Online