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When it comes to promoting equality in the NHS and wider profession, the BMA draws upon the expertise and lived experience of its members.
The EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) advisory group, which I chair, is made up of around 20 doctors who bring a huge range of insights to these vitally important issues. The group initially came together in 2016 to provide the BMA guidance and advice on all matters of equality and membership is renewed annually.
These members have helped inform the BMA’s response to topics such as the review of the gender pay gap in medicine, and contributed to projects covering bullying and harassment.
Recently, our group’s work has included advising on the production of GMC guidance for universities, training providers and employers to help them better support disabled medical students and doctors, and contributing to our former president Dinesh Bhugra’s survey on mental health within the profession.
We can only successfully champion equality if, as an association, we embrace those values ourselves. The EDI advisory group has helped us with making our buildings more accessible, and on reviewing the sex and gender identity categories we use to gather equality monitoring information about members.
Group members have not only a profound collective knowledge of the issues, but strong individual track records of campaigning for change.
They have, for example, taken up issues such as the overly restrictive dress code rules for NHS staff which can prove highly problematic for Muslim women doctors, and the difficulties affecting NHS workers with disabilities or long-term health conditions.
As we enter the new session with our new advisory group for 2019-20 there is much work to be done in the months ahead. This includes discussing the outcomes of the new WDES (workforce disability equality standard) metrics and action plans, which are due to be published by NHS trusts in England, and examining the outcome of the independent review into the gender pay gap in medicine.
A key, ongoing piece of work is in making our committees more representative of the incredible, diverse profession that we represent.
And the group is ideally placed to support the BMA’s new initiative, Equality Matters. The training which will be given to all elected members will help them embrace the challenges of representing the doctors they serve in an inclusive and empathetic way.
I’m also delighted that EDI training materials will be available to all members. This is not a niche topic – how can it be, when it concerns fairness towards everyone?
It’s a huge privilege to be a doctor, the most fulfilling job that anyone can do. It’s a privilege which must be available equally to all those with the talent and desire to serve.
Helena McKeown is chair of the BMA representative body, and of the BMA equality, diversity and inclusion advisory group
It's not just the blind, but also doctors with Physical handicaps who have been turned away from any access to work and have to be scrounging on benefits? why do you think the taxes are high? Professionals are trained, but can't get access to work because they are disabled. the work is being being dished out to the non medical staff who are threatening the disabled doctors when they try to get access to the workplace? when will this end?
I have repeatedly asked BMA for help but there is some degree of cherry picking
It's not a gender gap in pay. It's a sex gap.
Have you any plans to make the BMA’s various committees more represeiof the medical workforce, more diverse and inclusive? Both in terms of the BMA ethos of ‘doing the most for the most’ which exists in certain committees and which can disadvantage certain groups. Also I terms of the actual composition of the committees themselves from an EDI perspective. Guidance/a framework is needed that need to be adhered to or justification given for any deviation. Too many are ‘male, pale and stale’, and go through the motions. They do not understand the barriers to progression in the workforce that women and BAME doctors face. We need action on this and I look forward to seeing the work that is being done.
I have looked at these modules and as a disabled doctor they do not begin to address the problems that we are facing as disabled doctors.
a) I am disabled and i was told i could not get a permanent job in the NHS where I was working because the preference was to get Asian doctors from overseas.The hospital in question was actually heavily overrepresented with Asian candidates and white and every other group of EA2010 were underrepresented.
Why is it basic public sector duties could not be followed ie duty to make reasonable adjustments under EA2010 to accommodate a local disabled candidate before seeking overseas workforce which was carded as more money? Mr Massey of the GMC has even pointed out the race inequalities in the system.
I approached BMA for help at the time and all I experienced was more ostrocization and no help to peacefully change cultures. I was not given support and then blamed for withdrawing support because of my disability.
b) where in these modules does it teach manager both medical and non medical to stop the barrage of negative bias excuses?
In over 100 applications where guaranteed disabled interview,, most provided no feedback , nor did they offer any interview
i) several times because I am disabled, at the time of interview lower wages were proferred which i accepted
ii)excuses such as we want to get overseas candidates as in a) so that means the local disabled workforce get stuck on benefits. And all of this is draining the country of wealth . There are lectures by an economist in these modules but no where does it address the root problem of helping people with disability off a benefits and staying in work. Access to work is for disbaled people in permenant jobs. The hurdle is we do not have access to permanent jobs, we are always a disposable temp.
iii) Again, because of my disability i have been refused long term jobs in order to keep skills mix extended role workers in permanent roles does less than I what I am able to do and at more pay. Where is the economic and medical sense in this?Why are there no modules educating recruiting managers on this.
With the skills mix, there are even useful disability adjustments such as using AfC pay scales to address what skills a doctor can do with their disability and considering even job share with a skills mix person. If the system is so broken it can't help disabled doctors in the workplace, how do you honestly expect to provide an empathic and productive way to better health even for patients?
iV) supervision staffing- has been used an excuse. In some cases all that is required to speak to a disabled junior doctor twice month to keep a productive role going but excuses to proritize teaching and training skill mix which is more labour intensive and what cost to the system?
I agree with my colleague that cultures need to change in the BMA itself, also in the NHS and it's not just the medical management. disabled junior doctors, consultant etc are facing a barrier of health professionals in leadership that need reeducation.
You would think Nelson Mandela and Stephen Hawkins all just exsisted in vain considering what other EA2010 doctors have to face as obstacles
I think both NHS and BMA have long way to go before practice matches high flown rhetoric.
Honorable Chairperson, thanks for this equality forum because it is indeed necessary to cover sensitive topics and not just gloss over discrimination .
With all due respect to other members can I please ask on another sensitive topic of how caste system is affecting the younger generation , ie students.
As a parent is has come to my attention that students of lower caste appearance are being isolated or bullied by higher caste appearing students. No only that , the indigenous white students are being taught to bully the darker ones .
Richer more affluent high caste students are taunting less fortunate white students about their financial etc inadequacies.This is leading to low self esteem among the local students in addition to the social media causing so many problems.Can we please get some formal help and education for the teachers ( and even the social workers) so that imports of things like caste system do not damage the opportunities and interacation of the younger generation?
Our job/ profession is also safeguarding youngsters . Can we as group help schools in identifying and managing these imported behaviours that aren't acceptable?
Most respectfully, Can anybody answer why Hadiza Bawa Garba is not back at work? was it all just a trick where colleagues claimed they were going to help her?she is locally born and bred, shouldn't she be working to contribute lowering NHS costs. where are the positive messages regarding this.
All that was required was that seniors talk to her, maybe every day.
Regarding to Earn learn and return schemes that are being sent up to bolster workforce from doctors overseas, you do need to talk to them everyday as well, but what is the main difference, is it that they look different fro Doctor bawa garba and then the country loses 1/3 a million pounds, rather than it staying in the UK?
Difficult but reasonable question and i appreciate the cynics raising their hand in a previous post.
Again no rudeness is intended but if young people are being affected by caste system in school, can i ask about this unfortunate event in an affluent circle, are these things connected?
If that is the case , these the judges really should look at this again and support young people more and not dismiss it as a knife incident influenced by the black poverty culture.I understand this has been looked at separately by BMA where blacks cannot get access to jobs, opportunity an who knows university?
Maybe school should feed back what they are experiencing to try to get better equality for children
I see in the above outline a plan for "metrics "and this is something to be fully supported. The Americans have done numbers counting for a long time.
Some of the Royal colleges have done workforce census monitoring looking at numbers in each specialty such as race, gender, disability and whether such a person is on substantive contract or just a locum.
I hope the so called" International" colleagues and programs can embrace this same metrics exercise so that university admission numbers to these "International "programs are more transparent and don't just focus on one minority group.
For example, more of the outcast, uber minority groups of EA2010 categories, end up on locum contracts and as a result if they are threatened ,ostracized by a colleague or MAP for their protected characteristic(s), they would be too frightened to say anything because it would jeopardize their employment.
Hence the culture of fear in the NHS among normal folks but moreso re vulnerable people.
Trusts should be encouraged to report/publish their equality statistics so show that they are actively continuously engaging all members of EA2010 and certain staff are not in just toilet paper short term posts to meet a service need or just temporarily try to fool GMC that they momentarily helped someone in an uber minority category.
For example, in one FOI response a trust employed more white and asian doctors and based on specific sites , there were more Asian doctors than white.
They stated they were a disability confident trust but the number of disabled people actually interviewed and or appointed was zero.
Responses to the number of blacks have been either zero or less than 10 (but this could be equally likely zero). I did not press the data, but this is something the BMA /DOH /GMC could look at since it decides how public spending is spent on salaries and /or welfare.
I did not intentionally omit gays but as this is a sensitive topic forum, people better placed than myself should be better placed how to handle those queries.
I has emerged however that one trust has been asked in FOI if any gay doctors do disclose their gayness in applications and if any disabled doctors disclose this in applications. It would be welcomed to see this preliminary data.
The Metrics exercise is welcomed and encouraged and should be repeated at regular intervals to see if any genuine equality is emerging.
Also useful would be to see how many locally trained candidates eg with CCT doe not occupy UK posts but have been forced to relocate overseas.
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