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Fitness-to-practice ‘unfair’ BME doctors claim

2 June 2014

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Black and minority ethnic (BME) doctors are less likely to believe that fitness to practice proceedings are fair, a major review has concluded. 

Over 3,500 doctors took part in the General Medical Council’s review, which found that BME doctors were significantly less likely than others to believe the GMC’s registration process – which approves doctors for practise in the UK – is fair for all doctors. 

Nearly one in three BME doctors – and an equivalent number of non-UK qualified doctors – held this view.

While the majority of white doctors believe that they would be treated fairly and in an equivalent way to others, BME doctors and those who qualified outside of the UK were more doubtful. 

Of those who did not believe they would be treated fairly, more than one in four (27%) said that this was because of their ethnicity.

Most (79%) of those surveyed were confident in the way that the GMC regulates the profession, while 85% said they had confidence in the GMC’s ability to protect patient safety.

However, black and minority ethnic (BME) doctors had more confidence in the GMC than white doctors, and non-UK qualified doctors had more confidence than UK qualified doctors.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: “It is reassuring that the vast majority of doctors, from all backgrounds, have confidence in what we do, but it is clear we have more to do. Our role must always be to put patients first but to achieve that we need to work closely with doctors and it is vital that, regardless of where they trained, their ethnicity or their background, each of them trusts us to operate fairly at all times and in the best interests of patient safety.

“We may never be popular but we play a fundamental role in doctors’ professional lives, and, as the report suggests, we must not only be fair, but be seen to be fair.” 

The full report is available to view on the GMC website