Progress in tackling disproportionate GMC referrals of ethnic doctors

  • Date: 09 June 2023

THE General Medical Council has reported that the gap in referral rates between ethnic minority and white doctors has narrowed.

Data from the GMC’s Equality, diversity and inclusion: targets, progress and priorities for 2023 (PDF) shows that the gap during the five years to 2022 was 0.19 per cent (0.41 per cent ethnic minority, 0.22 per cent white) compared to 0.24 per cent (0.5 per cent ethnic minority, 0.26 per cent white) between 2017 and 2021.

The proportion of employers with referrals that were disproportionate in terms of ethnicity or international primary medical qualification also fell from 5.3 per cent in 2017-2021 to 4.4 per cent in 2018-2022.

The GMC has set targets to eliminate all disproportionate referrals from employers about ethnic minority doctors by 2026, and to eradicate disadvantage and discrimination in medical education and training by 2031.

GMC Chief Executive Charlie Massey said: "Supportive cultures and inclusive leadership are the most important drivers of compassionate care, and key for the future sustainability of the workforce. System leaders must not yield to pressures to de-prioritise ED&I initiatives. There is a clear business case for them, and it is patients who ultimately benefit."

Dr Latifa Patel, representative body chair and equality lead at the BMA, commented: “The BMA has long raised concerns about the discrimination and racial bias that damages many ethnic minority doctors’ medical careers. Our members tell us that they experience indignity, unfairness, and discrimination on a daily basis whilst working in the NHS, and also hold deep concerns about discrimination and racial bias within the GMC’s own processes.

“So while it is encouraging that the GMC are pointing to evidence of progress it must look harder at its own fitness to practise processes and decision making if it is truly to tackle the systemic racism affecting doctors working across the UK.”

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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