Black and Minority Ethnic Leaders in the Health Sector


  • Fahmida Ashraf MRes, PGCHEP, PgCert, BA (Hons)

    1. University of Bradford, England
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    • Fahmida Ashraf, MRes, PGCHEP, PgCert, BA (Hons), is a lecturer/researcher at the Centre for Inclusion and Diversity, University of Bradford, England. She has previously worked as a research project officer on many research projects including Corrective Action to Redress the Ethnic Imbalance in Senior Management: Experiences of BME Leaders/Managers in the NHS; Community Facilitators project; Positive Action Research in Health and Education (funded by the European Social Fund and the University of Bradford); and Supporting Family Carers of People with Dementia (Health Action Zone and the University of Bradford funded project). She is actively involved in many equality and diversity publications, forums, and committees at the University of Bradford. Her research interests include workforce diversity, ethnicity, race, gender, disability issues, and research methods. She may be reached at


As several studies indicate, the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom is one of the largest employers for Black and minority ethnic (BME) people. Despite many positive action (PA) initiatives to support disadvantaged groups, only a handful of people have managed to progress to senior management. This article considers published literature in relation to BME leadership in NHS and the specific types of PA activities that have been set up to address some issues around inequality. In addition to PA activities, the article also considers the U.K. equality framework. Positive action is allowed under the U.K. legislation for organizations to recruit people from underrepresented communities on merit. It allows organizations to create different initiatives for people to gain appropriate qualifications, skills, and experience to compete for promotions or for better job opportunities.