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CQC plans to collect ethnicity data as part of new registration process

by Jess Hacker
12 February 2021

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said it is planning to collect and monitor the ethnicity data of GP providers to see whether this information ‘could be a factor’ in the inspection ratings awarded to practices.

The health and care regulator said there were ‘longstanding concerns’ that practices led by BAME partners were more likely to receive lower ratings and said it was planning to collect the data as it develops its new registration information collection.  

Rosie Benneyworth, chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care at CQC, said: ‘We know that there are longstanding concerns that GP practices which are led by Black or minority ethnic (BME) GPs are more likely to receive lower ratings.

‘We understand how important these concerns are and while we don’t currently collect ethnicity data of GPs, we are planning to do so as we develop our new registration information collection.’

She added: ‘We want to monitor ethnicity so that we have better data to see whether this could be a factor in ratings, as well as the type or location of a practice.’

Dr Benneyworth’s statement followed the launch of a new forum for BAME doctors by the British Medical Association (BMA).

At the launch, the BMA highlighted concerns that CQC inspections are ‘more likely to rate as ‘inadequate’ GP practices with BAME partners’ and pointed to evidence from a 2019 General Medical Council (GMC) review.

In response, Dr Bennyworth said: ‘There is some evidence, such as the GMC’s ‘Fair to refer’ report, which suggests that practices led by Black or minority ethnic GPs are more likely to be working in deprived areas with less support. We also know from [our] State of Care [report] that services in deprived areas are more likely to have difficulty recruiting staff.’

She added: ‘We are committed to understanding and addressing inequalities wherever they may occur in health and social care. We don’t have all the answers and are limited by the data available, but we will work with our partners, including the BMA and fellow regulators in this space and are already taking steps to do so.’

BMA forum to address structural racism

The BMA’s forum is intended to create a platform for BAME medics, who make up around 40% of NHS doctors, to help the body better advocate for their interests, and to address structural racism and inequalities that it said have worsened during the pandemic.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said ‘there’s so much more to do’ to protect and support BAME doctors during the pandemic.

During the first wave in the UK, more than 90% of doctors who died were from a BAME background, the BMA said.

Dr Nagpaul added that the forum’s success would be assessed on its ability to make a ‘palpable difference’ to members’ workplace experiences.

The BMA also highlighted evidence that shows differential career progression and pay, and it stated that BAME doctors are more than two times as likely to be referred for fitness to practice proceedings by employers.

Doyin Atewologun, co-author of the GMC ‘Fair to refer’ report, recommended that support for doctors in solitary roles would be a suitable starting point for regional network discussions and advocacy.

The forum will also offer allyship training for non-BAME members, designed to improve understanding of the experiences of those facing discrimination.