Hopefully all readers will fondly remember Cressida Dick. Dame Cressida Rose Dick DBE QPM is a British retired senior police officer who served as Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police from 2017 to 2022. She was the first female officer to lead the Metropolitan Police Service, or the Met, in London. Dick joined the Met in1983.
When appointed, new Met chief Cressida Dick reportedly said “diversity is at the heart of her role“. In 2018, Dick launched a campaign to increase the proportion of female officers in the Met. At the time, 27% of Met officers were women; Dick aimed to increase that figure to 50% over time, although she did not set a target date. Later she was quoted as saying: “We’re growing, we’re bigger, more capable, more diverse, more scrutinised and better equipped than ever before. The streets are safer and I’m proud of that.”
Despite Ms. Dick claiming London streets were safer under her management, the crime figures recorded by the police told a different story. The number of “police reported crime offences” in London rose from 774,734 in 2016-7 to 820,920 in 2017-8, then again to 865,214 in 2018-2019 and up to 912,487 in 2019-20. Some of the largest rises were in crimes of violence, especially knife crime. Though crime levels fell in the following two years during the Covid lockdowns.
Just in the year Cressida launched her campaign to increase the number of female ‘policepersons’, there was around a 20% increase in violent crime. People unfamiliar with the intricacies of policing might be forgiven for wondering whether increasing the gender diversity of the Met really should have been a priority during a period of rising crime.
Cressida herself ticked a few important diversity boxes: female – tick; lesbian – tick; married to a woman – tick. If only she had been black or Asian, she’d have had a ‘full house’. A cynic might be tempted to conclude that Cressida Dick was chosen for her diversity credentials and not for any ability to fight crime, which increased inexorably under her watch. Cressida was eventually pushed to resign (with about £166,000 of our money plus a massive pension) after a series of blunders and scandals. When she left, the Met was put in ‘special measures’ due to the force’s apparent inability to do the job it was supposed to do.
I made a short (two minutes) YouTube video about Cressida Dick’s rise to fame and fortune (with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan).
The latest boss at our envy-of-the-world NHS is Amanda Pritchard. Wikipedia tells us that Amanda Kate Pritchard is a British healthcare official and public policy analyst who has been the Chief Executive of NHS England since August 1st 2021. Pritchard previously served as Chief Operating Officer of NHS England and as Chief Executive of NHS Improvement from 2019 to 2021.
She gets paid about £260,000 a year and no doubt will soon get a few gongs and a seat in the Lords as all those of her ilk invariably do.
You may have thought that there were some small problems with the NHS England – people waiting 10-20 hours for an ambulance, possibly 500 people a week dying early due to failing healthcare, some of the worst cancer survival rates in the developed world and so on. It may well be that Ms. Pritchard has a laser-like focus on solving the NHS’s many problems. We should all hope so. However, some of her managers, many of them also on six-figure salaries, could seem to be blissfully unaware of these issues and are pushing ahead with hiring even more DIE (Diversity, Inclusion and Equality) managers apparently in the belief that more DIE managers is just what is needed to solve the NHS’s current problems and improve patient care.
Here are just a few extracts from some current job descriptions of these individuals. The words ‘patient care’ are absent from these job vacancies. In fact, most focus on achieving the NHS’s internal organisational DIE targets:
- The post-holder will seek out and interpret national guidance and legislation relating to equality, diversity, and inclusion giving specialist advice to directors and managers, clinical leads and Board members to ensure due regard for equality and diversity in their ongoing work programmes
- Working as part of the Workforce and OD Directorate and reporting into the Deputy Director of Workforce and OD, you will need to be passionate about developing a diverse and inclusive culture and have a value set that fits with our Trust and the NHS
- You will lead on the development and implementation of the Trusts strategic EDI objectives ensuring the involvement of diverse groups and people with lived experience in the development and implementation of our plans
But the main issue with the NHS’s current obsession with trying to increase the diversity of its workforce is that in terms of the ethnicity of its workforce, the NHS is already more diverse than the U.K. population:
- Of the NHS’s 1.3 million employees, 77.9% are white compared to 85.6% of the working-age population and 86% of the total population; 10.7% are Asian compared to 7.2% of the working-age population and 7.5% of the total population; and 6.5% are black compared to only 3.4% of the working-age population and 3.3% of the total population
- Among consultants 59.9% are white compared to 77.9% of NHS employees being white. A huge 29.1% are Asian compared to only 10.7% of NHS employees being Asian. And 2.9% are black compared to 6.5% of NHS employees being black.
In fact, the ethnic group which is most under-represented at the NHS is white British.
Moreover, some old-fashioned people might wonder about the amounts of our money the NHS spends on woke initiatives. The latest seems to be the Maternity Gender Inclusion Programme.
We all know there have been major problems at many NHS maternity units. Partly these have been due to a lack of midwives and partly due to mismanagement. The latest was the scandal at Shrewsbury and Telford hospital where over 200 babies and at least nine mothers died reportedly due to poor care. People unfamiliar with the intricacies of healthcare might be forgiven for wondering whether a Maternity Gender Inclusion Programme which would train midwives at 40 NHS Trusts on the use of ‘trans inclusive language’ and pronouns – due to it being based on the Improving Trans Experiences of Maternity Services – really was likely to solve the problems in the NHS’s collapsing maternity services. After all, most of us know which sex can have children and which can’t. Moreover, there’s a bit of a clue in the word ‘maternity’. There must be a reason they’re not called ‘paternity’ units.
Amanda Pritchard may turn out to be the best leader the NHS has ever had. She may well be relentlessly focused on cutting waiting lists and improving patient care. But looking at the number and type of DIE roles our crisis-hit NHS is currently advertising and the ‘progressive’ re-education programmes being forced on NHS staff, a cynic might be forgiven for concluding that the Cressida Dick woke managerial car crash at the Met is now being repeated almost word for word in the increasingly woke NHS. Like the Met, the NHS could seem to be becoming a totally dysfunctional organisation which has forgotten why it exists. Like the Met, the NHS could seem to be spending more time obsessing about and woke-ifying its own internal organisation than on trying to deliver what it was set up to do.
I think we all can imagine what happens next. And it won’t be good for patients.
David Craig is the author of There is No Climate Crisis, available as an e-book or paperback from Amazon.