As an ethnic minority doctor in Wales, I came across multiple challenges in my career including discrimination.
In my case, I was forced to accept a job plan which was very unfair, and it took me months to fight to rectify it. It left me unhappy and distressed, when I just wanted to focus my efforts on doing my best for my patients.
I’m very aware that other doctors face these types of challenges daily and for this reason, it’s so important that there’s a safe space for ethnic minority and international medical graduate doctors to be able to come together to share ideas and raise awareness around workplace issues and concerns they face. These doctors also need to be able to access support for career development, learning and mentoring for peers.
BMA Cymru Wales has long raised concerns about how BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) doctors are treated in the workplace and a year ago, we created a forum to do just that; to challenge concerns about how ethnic minority doctors are treated in the workplace. It was called the BAME forum.
This year has been challenging for everyone but especially for doctors from ethnic minorities. We’ve focused on ensuring that Welsh Government acted swiftly when the excessive impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities was established – we campaigned for risk assessments for all doctors, and we continue to lobby to protect our ethnic minority members from harm.
Earlier in the year, we called to end racial harassment in the Welsh NHS, which is experienced from the outset of a career in medicine, through our charter against racial harassment in medical schools, and this work continues today.
Just over a year into the forum and we’ve realised its name was limiting to our members; something that was revealed in an internal survey. Members didn’t feel represented by the BAME acronym and wanted a name that was inclusive. So, we’ve now said goodbye to the BAME Forum and rebranded as the Forum for Racial Equality & Equity.
With a new name comes new aspirations and more hard work to make the medical workforce a better one for ethnic minority and IMG doctors.
To do this, we need more members of this community to get on board and share your experiences with us. How can we fight for better? How can we improve support and raise the profile of the contributions of ethnic minority doctors to the NHS in Wales?
If you’d like a chat to see if the forum is something you’d like to be a part of, you can reach out to me ([email protected]). Together, we can empower and raise the voices of under-represented doctors in Wales.
Another way you can help us realise this is to take a few minutes to complete the all-Wales survey to all doctors and medical students on race equality issues. It’ll assist the forum’s work and priorities going forward, making sure we’re listening to the issues you’re facing and trying to do something to make it better. You can do this, here
We need your help to achieve better for all.
Manish Adke is co-chair of the Forum for Racial Equality and Equity, a member of the Welsh BMA consultants committee and UK consultant committee