BMA Urges Action on Racist and Sexist Discrimination in Medical Promotions

Priscilla Lynch 

September 06, 2021

The British Medical Association (BMA) is calling on the Government to act on what it says is “irrefutable evidence” that some doctors in the UK are being discriminated against in career progression on the basis of their gender or ethnicity.

New British Academy of Management research has highlighted “severe disadvantages” women and ethnic minorities face in reaching the top of the surgical profession: The raw data, from the Electronic Staff Record for NHS staff, showed that rates of promotion for women and ethnic minority groups were lower than those for white men.

In response, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “This research provides further evidence of the significant inequalities in career progression affecting some women and some ethnic minority doctors in the NHS. The data also highlights that some women doctors face intersectional discrimination based on both their gender and ethnic background. Not only is this unacceptable, but it also prevents the health service from benefiting from the true potential contribution of its medical workforce.

“Just last week the BMA published its report on ‘Sexism in Medicine’ which found concerning levels of sexism and gender-based discrimination within the NHS, and we hear from our members far too often that doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds are either not getting shortlisted or appointed to senior positions, which is discouraging many from even applying. This represents a glass ceiling that should have no place in an NHS which prides itself on providing equality of treatment to patients – NHS doctors deserve the same values to apply to them.”

He said it is high time the Government starts acting on the “irrefutable evidence that some groups of doctors are disadvantaged purely on the basis of their gender or ethnicity”.

The BMA has commissioned research looking at the barriers for ethnic minority doctors’ progression into senior positions, and hopes the findings will help address the root causes of racial disparities in the medical profession.

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

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