Responding to the publication of the Care Quality Commission’s research into ethnic minority-led GP practices’ experiences of CQC regulation1, Dr Farah Jameel, BMA England GP committee chair, said:
“Public trust and confidence in standards of care are incredibly important. What this report has identified is that the current format of inspections does not appropriately take into account or seek to address structural inherent inequalities that policymakers have been responsible for.
“It is therefore an important piece of work that underlines and recognises not only the poor experiences of, and challenges faced by, ethnic minority GPs during inspection processes, but also wider systemic factors that disproportionately impact this valuable group of doctors and their patients. These are all areas the BMA has been consistently raising for years.
“Worryingly, the report highlights how ethnic minorities were concerned about racial discrimination from regulators, and felt inspections were punitive rather than supportive, with harsh or unfair outcomes. The overriding conclusion is that the unique circumstances that many ethnic minority GPs practise within are not being adequately accounted for during the inspection process.
“For example, ethnic minority doctors are more likely to be leading a practice single-handedly, or in areas of high deprivation that tend to struggle with recruitment, and where patients have more complex, demanding healthcare needs. All of these, as the report notes, can impact on their performance against strict and arbitrary standards used by regulators.
“It is welcome that the CQC recognises that a one-size-fits-all approach to regulation, that focuses on outcomes without due regard for context, does not work, and that it has committed to look at its own processes to ensure that practices are supported, rather than penalised for challenges outside of their control. This change in approach is vital for understanding the pressures all practices, including those run by ethnic minority doctors, are under.
“We look forward to working with the CQC to ensure that these commitments are being followed through to support the profession, especially at this most challenging time, and to make regulation fit for purpose.
“More broadly, it underlines the need to address wide-ranging structural inequalities, both in society and across the health sector, and the BMA will continue to support our members of all backgrounds while pressuring policymakers and Government to both tackle damaging cultures within the health service, and ensure resources are directed to where they are needed most, so that patients of all backgrounds get high-quality care tailored to their needs.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association 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.
- 'Ethnic minority-led GP practices: impact and experience of CQC regulation' can be read in full on the CQC's website.