A troubled ambulance trust is offering senior staff members up to £80K to quit despite claims of racism after staff ‘mimicked monkey sounds’ and ‘laughed at colleagues who fasted in Ramadan‘.

The East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) has rolled out a ‘mutually agreed resignation scheme’ which is only available during a two-week window in April.

It invites senior workers to apply for pay-offs of up to £80,000 to resign from their posts – but it is only being made available to staff on or above the band 8a pay scale, which currently has a starting salary of £48,526.

Workers that successfully apply for the scheme will then be paid a half month’s salary for every year they have worked in the NHS – with pay-offs capped at £80,000.

It comes amid ongoing allegations of poor culture within in the trust, including continuing problems with racism and discrimination.

A damning report published last month revealed shocking examples of behaviour within the trust, including mimicking monkey noises and a worker ‘wearing black face’ at a staff party.

Troubled The East of England Ambulance Service Trust is offering senior staff members up to £80K to quit despite claims of racism after staff ‘mimicked monkey sounds’ and ‘laughed at colleagues who fasted in Ramadan’. They rolled out a ‘mutually agreed resignation scheme’, available during a two-week window in April (pictured Tom Abell, Chief Executive of EEAST)

McKenzie LLP, a specialist equality, diversity and inclusion consultancy firm was employed to conduct a report on the EEAST, who contacted 120 Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff members. There were 58 employees who gave reponses.

One person said that ‘EEAST suffers from its own “racism bias” phenomenon which I have personally experienced at least 20 times in the trust in 20 months’, ITV reported.

Several responses explained how BME staff were asked to ‘translate for patients’ who were speaking ‘gobbledygook’ despite not actually speaking the language themselves.

One said: ‘Assumptions are made based on the colour of your skin, I was asked to translate for someone speaking Arabic, the reason given for the request was that “I look like one of them”.’

At a work fancy dress party, some employees said they complained because a manager’s husband ‘dressed as Mr T’ and ‘coloured himself in black’. 

Another respondent detailed one other run-in: ‘When my team were ordering a takeaway they didn’t order me one as they told me that they were ordering a curry and I was probably sick of them as I must eat them all the time.’

A worker for the trust, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘This seems to be a way for the taxpayer to foot the bill for those managers whose conduct probably led to the awful culture here.

‘Paramedics are burnt out but won’t get the chance to apply for this as they aren’t on band 8a and above.’

Tom Abell, EEAST chief executive, said: ‘We made the decision to launch this voluntary scheme – which is used frequently in the NHS – as we recognise the trust has been going through a period of cultural change which will be ongoing for the next few years.

‘Since I joined the Trust in August 2021, we have made significant progress in a number of areas which has been recognised by our regulators and we are hoping that this scheme will help drive the further improvements we are working towards.’

MailOnline has approached the East of England Ambulance Trust for comment. 

On 16 March, the EEAST signed up to UNISON’s new Anti-Racism Charter – the first NHS Trust to have done so.

It aims to help tackle racism in the public sector and ‘commits organisations and their leaders to a raft of pledges’ which are designed to stop ‘all forms of conscious or unconscious racial bias’ 

This is said to be done through ‘unconscious bias’ training for all staff members and specific ‘robust’ equality training for management.

Part of this charter states that organisations have to have a ‘clear and visible anti-racism programme in place’ and they will also have to report on ethnicity pay gaps as well as monitoring disciplinary and grievance processes.

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com