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This year sees the NHS’s 70th anniversary and, in celebrating this milestone, many of us will also wish to remember and reaffirm the NHS’s founding principles of equity and fairness.These principles should apply across every aspect of the NHS including to its workforce. Sadly, when it comes to the issue of racial inequality in the NHS, we know that there is still much work to be done.Inequalities exist across all levels of our health service. From differential attainment between BME (black and minority ethnic) and white students at medical school, to BME doctors disproportionately experiencing bullying and harassment once in the workplace.BME doctors are also more likely to be referred to the GMC, not by their patients but by their own employers, and more likely to face sanctions once referred.It is not just harassment and regulatory reprimand that affect BME doctors disproportionately. Dedicated and successful BME doctors are also less likely to see their achievements be given the recognition they deserve.The impact of such inequalities can significantly affect a doctor’s career and well-being. Furthermore, not only is racial inequality unfair to doctors, it is also unfair to patients, who are ultimately being denied the full potential and capability of the medical workforce as a result.It was for these reasons that earlier this month the BMA hosted the largest event we have ever held focused on the issues of inequality in our NHS and what solutions need to be pursued.During the course of the day-long event, we heard from figures from across the medical sector. These included Aneez Esmail, a professor of general practice who has been behind some of the most seminal studies into racial discrimination in the NHS.I truly believe that by continuing to have open and frank discussions around the issues relating to race inequality, we really can bring about a turning point in our health service.Ultimately, what all of us want to see is an NHS which fosters a culture of support and learning, not blame and fear, an NHS which provides fair and equal opportunity for each doctor to fulfil their potential.Chaand Nagpaul is BMA council chair Find out more about the event
When you said inequality did you mean racism? Why we don’t start calling things by their name?
As a black female doctor, the best staff I've worked with are people who have worked abroad. I think everyone should be encouraged to go outside their sphere and work with people of other races etc. If you transposed places, black people in say an African country will still treat white people differently. We have these myths about each other that can only be broken by actively participating and interacting with the opposite race. I had myths about Muslims, white people, even other Africans. Until I started working in the UK and met people and realised they actually just people like me, with families, hobbies, just looking to do their jobs and well.
Everyone should have an out of program experience if you ask me
Nothing new ! And no point to escalate bullying /undermining behaviour as people at the top will still support the bully, to avoid hassle of further investigation . Easy way out is leaving NHS and changing career !
What exactly do the BMA intend on doing about this? Conferences won’t do anything. It’s time for action! This is a longstanding issue within the NHS. I’ve had BME colleagues and friends referred to the GMC over things that would’ve been overlooked if they were white. The NHS is institutionally racist. BME doctors have to work that much harder to get any recognition in comparison to white doctors. It’s so sad considering just how many doctors and healthcare professionals come from BME backgrounds and how they are the backbone of the NHS and yet, they are treated like second class citizens. Absolutely disgusting!
I wonder what would happen if all BME doctors went on strike? Like to see how the NHS would be able to handle that?
BME being bullied harassed..
Nice talk what are you doing to stop for example unfair referral to GMC without proper investigation
What are you doing to stop shambolic process called investigation by mainly white bosses?
Talk is not enough and when BMA did not stand up aginest Trust shambolic process and let them to destroy the career of honest hard working person.
What are you doing to stop that?
Review all the cases referred to GMC who goes to the extreem response and may be action.
Review the referral process and investigation process by many Trusts.
BME are suffering, are you listening?
I've been harrassed and bullied by a BME doctor for 4 yrs. Even referred me to the GMC, case thrown out, he appealed, case thrown out. It goes both ways.
About time we put an end to this ugly thing called racism and discrimination. I believe the NHS would implode if it were not for the contribution made by ethnic minorities. The stats speak for themselves,
I have just gone through a three week period of hell at my present job. I am an Asian women who sat the GAM SAT exam and won a place to do a post grad medical degree in UK. My first year as a foundation year 1 doctor was the most horrible experience in my life. Inspite of graduating from an outstanding UK University my Education Supervisor wrote in my report that I cannot speak English so I would benefit by repeating my FY1 year.
I have worked in UK and New Zealand for 9 years. 3 weeks ago a White registrar put a complaint against me saying I can’t even take a history or examin properly a patient. A HR lady told me 3 days ago I am working at a FY1 level while drawing a Clinical Fellow salary, Can anyone believe this?
FY1 & FY2 White doctors working with me are given an impression that I am a clueless woman. If this is not Bullying due to racial prejudice then what else is this behaviour? I am still in shock.
This nonsense is still going on 22 years ago Esmail did this research how disappointing UK.
It goes all ways. I am not British, but I am white. Worst I had was from BME 'colleagues'.
What are the BMA doing about this?? Great to raise the issue (again) but what about action? For most BME Dr’s the charge is guilty until proven innocent.
Some of the responses that I’ve read in this comments section are completely heartbreaking. I feel like the BMA are all talk and no trousers. This issue really needs to be brought to the forefront. Has this issue been discussed in parliament? Surely racism and prejudice in this day and age should not and cannot be tolerated. I’ve had friends who were referred to the GMC and the BMA offered no support whatsoever. So traumatic was the entire process that they tried to take their life. While I know this discussion isn’t about GMC referrals, we can’t ignore the trauma and stress that being referred to the GMC involves.