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BMA bid to improve support for disabled doctors

24 July 2007

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Practice managers are being alerted to moves by the British Medical Association (BMA) to get better support for disabled doctors.

The BMA is calling on the General Medical Council (GMC) to lead the way in promoting disability equality in the medical profession by working with other regulatory bodies, medical schools and employers.

It wants more disabled people to gain access to the field through better monitoring and support to boost their chances of career development.

The BMA report says managers must comply with the Disability Discrimination Act to ensure that disabled doctors are not put at a disadvantage when practising medicine.

The BMA’s head of science and ethics, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said: “In the UK, around 11 million adults are covered by the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act, that’s about one in five of the total adult population.

“There is no accurate data on the number of disabled doctors, but there clearly are barriers to careers in medicine for disabled people.

“The GMC has started to address some of these issues, but there is still a lot more to do.”

She added: “In the medical profession, people with a wide range of impairments and long-term health conditions face many hurdles including inflexible working patterns.

“There needs to be a cultural shift toward an inclusive environment that fosters diversity. The ‘one size fits all’ approach does not reflect people’s lives and should not reflect medicine.”

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British Medical Association