BMA Cymru Wales has long raised concerns about how BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) doctors are treated in the workplace.
We know that BAME doctors are more likely to be bullied, less likely to raise concerns and more likely to feel blamed. It is unacceptable that our colleagues and friends continue to work within such a challenging environment and culture.
BMA Cymru Wales has campaigned for many years for fairness and race equality for our members in their place of work and within the Welsh NHS.
This year, that work has focused on ensuring the Welsh Government acted swiftly when the inordinate 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 for ending 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.
But there is so much more we can do to amplify the voices of our members from BAME backgrounds and influence positive change in pursuit of race equality in the Welsh NHS and beyond, and BMA Cymru Wales is committed to ensuring this is a priority.
I’m pleased to let you know that we are launching the BAME Forum for members in Wales, to help make this a reality.
It will bring members together to explore and highlight the issues and experiences of BAME doctors and medical students in their places of work and study. It will enable members to contribute to and inform BMA Cymru Wales’ policy work on race equality for our own members and the wider medical workforce.
The group will also seek to influence Welsh Government and Employers Wales to improve support for BAME and IMG (international medical graduates) doctors and students, and it will raise the profile of the contributions of BAME doctors to the NHS in Wales.
The forum will elect two members to the UK BAME member forum on an annual basis, in order to represent the views of members in Wales.
I’m so glad to be a part of this new forum. Most of my BAME colleagues have expressed concerns during their careers with issues which seemed to affect them more than their white counterparts – limited opportunities for career progression, job planning disputes, lack of support in service delivery, the list goes on.
I have also suffered personally during my career; I was forced to accept an unacceptable job plan which took me months to fight. It left me sad and traumatised when all I wanted to do was to work hard for my patients. Too often we hear of these issues arising for BAME doctors.
This is a real opportunity to create meaningful and lasting change. Please join us to empower and raise the voices of BAME doctors in Wales. Share your experiences and your ideas on how the NHS in Wales can provide better support to doctors – and how the BMA can, too. Please put yourself forward and help us to improve race equality in medicine now, and for future generations.
Manish Adke is a member of the BMA Welsh council and Welsh BMA consultants committee.
Contact us if you wish to join the BMA Cymru Wales BAME forum.