GMC registration and fitness to practise unfair, black and minority ethnic doctors say

Nearly two thirds of black and minority ethnic (BME) and non-UK qualified doctors believe the GMC's registration and fitness to practise processes are unfair on non-white doctors.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson: watchdog must be seen to be fair
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson: watchdog must be seen to be fair

Independent research commissioned by the GMC found 60% of BME doctors believe non-UK qualified and BME doctors are more likely to receive an unfair outcome in a fitness to practise investigation if complaints are made against them.

Among white doctors, 70% believe no particular group is more likely than any other to receive an unfair outcome.

A total of 61% of BME doctors said some groups - namely BME and non-UK qualified doctors - were more likely to receive unfair treatment in the GMC registration process, too. Among white doctors 66% said no group was more likely to be treated unfairly.

The results, which come two months after the GMC won a case where the high court ruled the CSA component of the MRCGP exam was not racially discriminatory, reveal stark differences between the experiences of white and BME doctors.

However, a quarter of doctors believe that fitness to practise proceedings are more fair now than they were five years ago, a view more prevalent among BME doctors (31%) than white doctors (26%).

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said it was important for the GMC to ‘not only be fair, but be seen to be fair’.

He said: ‘It is good to see that many doctors believe there has been progress in this area over the past five years, but I also recognise that we need to do more. That is why we are commissioning new research to look at the consistency and fairness of our investigations and the outcomes of those investigations.

‘We have a diverse medical profession in the UK and it is all the stronger for that. We need to acknowledge and value the immense contribution that doctors with different characteristics and different training make to our healthcare day in, day out.

‘We are taking forward a major programme of research and working with everyone involved in this area to ensure doctors are adequately supported and fairly assessed.’

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