BMA calls on Government to act on ‘irrefutable evidence’ that some doctors are disadvantaged on the basis of their gender or ethnicity

by BMA media team

BMA Press Release

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 2 September 2021

In response to new British Academy of Management research on the ‘severe disadvantages’ women and ethnic minorities face in reaching the top of the surgical profession BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “This research provides further evidence of the significant inequalities in career progression affecting some women and some ethnic minority doctors in the NHS. The data also highlights that some women doctors face intersectional discrimination based on both their gender and ethnic background. Not only is this unacceptable, but it also prevents the health service from benefiting from the true potential contribution of its medical workforce.

“Just last week the BMA published its report on ‘Sexism in Medicine’ which found concerning levels of sexism and gender-based discrimination within the NHS, and we hear from our members far too often that doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds are either not getting shortlisted or appointed to senior positions, which is discouraging many from even applying. This represents a glass ceiling that should have no place in an NHS which prides itself on providing equality of treatment to patients – NHS doctors deserve the same values to apply to them.

“It is high time the Government starts acting on the irrefutable evidence that some groups of doctors are disadvantaged purely on the basis of their gender or ethnicity. Women make up approximately 48% and ethnic minorities approximately 35% of doctors, with many having faced additional hurdles and challenges as they serve in our health service. They deserve to be treated and rewarded fairly on an equal footing to their peers.

“The BMA is determined this inequity is addressed, and has recently commissioned research looking at the barriers for ethnic minority doctors’ progression into senior positions - we hope that the findings will help address the root causes of racial disparities in the medical profession. It is only once barriers are identified that we can look to address them and ensure that all those who work within the NHS have equal opportunity to progress and are able to achieve their full potential – this is in everyone’s interest.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.