By Maximilian Clarke

A leading UK union is pressing for an independent inquiry into patterns of 'institutionalised racism' at Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

The Unite union has written to health secretary Andrew Lansley asking for the inquiry, following the case of former director Elliot Browne who received £933,000 in compensation for race discrimination and unfair dismissal at the hands of the trust.

Unite is not only asking for the independent inquiry, but for Andrew Lansley to investigate management practices across the NHS which could be construed as bullying and discriminatory.

In a letter to the health secretary Unite’s head of health Rachael Maskell said: ”I am writing to express my deep concern about the levels of direct and indirect race discrimination many employees, including Unite members, are experiencing within the NHS.”

Unite said that the black Caribbean population in central Manchester was 6.9 per cent, yet only represented 0.7 per cent of the trust’s workforce — 69 staff out of a total 9,341. Only one of the 250-strong professional and scientific staff was black Caribbean — and not one single healthcare scientist was.

Maskell continued: ”Unite believes that the government must act swiftly to explore how far certain ingrained behaviours and practices are embedded in NHS management cultures, and to respond accordingly.

”Unite continues to make representations on a growing number of cases where race discrimination, direct and indirect, form part or all of the case.”

Elliot Browne’s 34-year long career in the NHS came to end in 2008, following the trust’s ‘discriminatory treatment from 2007 onwards’, an employment tribunal ruled.

The tribunal awarded Unite member, Mr Browne, 55, whose health was ‘severely affected’ by his treatment in the workplace, a total of £933,115 for unfair dismissal, aggravated damages, and loss of earnings and pension. He had already received £71,415 from the trust.

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