BMA council chair makes influential top 50

by Peter Blackburn

BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul has been named among the top 50 most influential people from BAME (black, Asian and ethnic minority) backgrounds in healthcare.

Location: UK
Published: Thursday 8 October 2020
chair of bma council chaand nagpaul

Dr Nagpaul, a GP in north London, has been included – alongside the association’s former medical students committee co-chair Gurdas Singh.

It is the first time the Health Service Journal has produced the list – with the publication suggesting the list may be a 'cause for celebration' and also 'provide further ammunition for the fight to improve the NHS's poor record on BAME representation at the highest levels’.

The list says: ‘Dr Nagpaul has been prominent in medical politics for more than two decades and previously chaired the BMA GPs committee. He is often the voice – and face – of doctors in the media, on issues ranging from no-deal Brexit to doctors’ pensions, putting forward reasoned arguments with clarity and calmness. But, however calm he appears in the media, he is passionate about the NHS and deeply concerned about the workload and workforce issues doctors face, especially in general practice.'

It adds: 'Earlier this year he said the Government’s failure to publish real-time data on the ethnicity of COVID patients was a scandal and was one of the first to call for an investigation into why BAME health service staff were dying disproportionately.'

Vital to NHS

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘BAME healthcare professionals and staff are an integral and invaluable part of our NHS with one in five healthcare workers and two in five doctors coming from a black and ethnic minority background. Without them the NHS would not be able to function and the health of the nation would suffer.

'This is why it is vital that their voices are heard loudly and clearly and that decisions taken by politicians and NHS leaders reflect the realities and needs of our diverse workforce to ensure that every doctor achieves their full potential and provides the best possible care to patients. This list is an affirmation and celebration of the incredible talent and contributions of BAME doctors and healthcare leaders. It has been a privilege to represent them – and the entire medical profession – during this time of immense challenge for the NHS.’

Doctors’ voice

The list recognises the BAPIO (British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) chair JS Bamrah. Dr Bamrah, a consultant psychiatrist and former BMA council member, has ‘been at the heart’ of BAPIO’s work in giving doctors of Indian origin a voice and support. BAPIO president Ramesh Mehta also appears.

In addition the list features the Labour shadow minister for mental health and emergency care doctor Rosena Allin-Khan, who recently spelt out her plans in an interview with The Doctor. And there is recognition for:

  • London consultant obstetrician Sonji Clarke. She ‘has been described as a role model for providing compassionate care and has inspired medical students from disadvantaged backgrounds’
  • Imperial College senior clinical fellow Mala Rao, a leading public health doctor, influential voice on climate change, and a medical adviser to NHS England on workforce race equality
  • Navina Evans, chief executive of Health Education England and ‘vocal on the need for the NHS to be a great place to work which values its staff’
  • Farzana Hussain, a GP in east London, and co-chair of the national PCN Network. The list says Dr Hussain is ‘passionate about quality improvement and has said primary care should not just go back to normal post-COVID’.