Ethnic minority doctors being treated as outsiders

A new report commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC) has found that doctors from ethnic minorities are too often treated as outsiders by their NHS bosses and peers.

The regulatory body for doctors described an insider/outsider dynamic, with the report finding that those most likely to be left on the outside are foreign-born and trained doctors, who are often not given enough help to settle into the UK and the new job.

The GMC claims that twice as many minority ethnic doctors as white doctors are referred by their NHS employers for an investigation that could damage or end their careers. This means they have more chance of being investigated and, in turn, receiving a warning or sanction.

Furthermore, doctors from diverse groups do not always receive effective, honest or timely feedback which could prevent problems later. This is because some clinical and non-clinical managers avoid difficult conversations, particularly where they are from a different ethnic group to the doctor.

Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, said: “To deliver good patient care, doctors need well-led workplaces with just and fair cultures, and strong clinical leadership that fosters trust and confidence in employees. All of us who are responsible for the UK’s health services have a role to play in developing these environments.

“We want to avoid doctors being referred to us for issues that can be solved earlier locally. We want patients to receive the best possible care, which is best delivered by doctors working in supportive and inclusive surroundings.”

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