Responding to the GMC’s The state of medical education and practice in the UK 2020 report1, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“Despite its obvious challenges, it’s encouraging that 89% of doctors experienced at least one positive change while working during Covid-19, and many teams have benefitted from closer working, knowledge and information sharing over the last year.
“However, it’s deeply concerning to see that doctors from BME backgrounds were less likely to share the positive experiences reported by many of their white counterparts and highlights a common trend running through our health service: that doctors from BME backgrounds feel unsupported and often lack compassionate workplace cultures.
“BMA surveys have highlighted time and time again that doctors from BME backgrounds can be less confident in raising concerns, more fearful of being blamed if something goes wrong, and are more likely to experience bullying or harassment in the workplace. Not to mention that many have continued working in these environments while being at an increased risk of developing serious complications from Covid-19.
“It’s therefore imperative, as this report highlights, that inclusive cultures are created and nurtured in every corner of the NHS, particularly as doctors from BME backgrounds are a significant part of the workforce.
“More importantly, these changes are about the fundamental right of everyone being treated fairly, and everything must be done to ensure that regardless of a doctor’s rank or background, all are entitled to the same level of support, compassion and ultimately, respect.
“Doctors have worked incredibly hard throughout Covid-19 and continue to go above and beyond for their patients, despite prolonged pressure and challenges in their workplaces. The more positive views shared in June and July, while encouraging to see, are unlikely to have lasted for long, with many in the profession now feeling physically and psychologically exhausted.
“The NHS needs to learn from what worked well during the pandemic and make permanent changes to benefit patient care, including how doctors are treated in the workplace.”
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.
1. The full report and PR from the GMC is here.