BMA Raises Concerns With Race Inequality Report

Priscilla Lynch 

April 19, 2021

British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has expressed ‘deep concerns’ about the recently published report into race equality in the UK – and called for a meeting with the commission’s lead to address its flaws.

The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities published its findings last month, and suggested structural race inequality is not a major factor affecting the outcomes and life chances of many citizens.

Dr Nagpaul has written to the commission’s chair Tony Sewell to express concern about the report, highlighting it neither reflects the experiences of ethnic minority BMA members nor “progresses the conversation about how to address racial inequality at an organisational or societal level”.

In the letter, Dr Nagpaul says: “We accept that racism and race equality is an immensely complex issue, but the report appears to be underpinned by a single narrative that attempts to minimise racism in the UK, with, in our view, the flawed interpretation of selected data.

“The BMA, representing more than 150,000 doctor and medical student members, submitted to the Commission’s consultation for the report, and I also provided evidence to the commission’s health sub group on behalf of our association. We do not believe the report appropriately reflected our submission.”

He added: “In the NHS, there is irrefutable evidence of discrimination faced by ethnic minority doctors at all stages of their career commencing from medical school.”

Dr Nagpaul said the report failed to mention that 85 per cent of doctors that died from COVID-19 in the UK were from minority ethnic backgrounds and that BMA member surveys during the pandemic found doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds were more than twice as likely to feel pressured to work without adequate personal protective equipment in high-risk settings, and more afraid to speak out about safety concerns for fear of recrimination or it affecting their careers.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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