The transcript of the General Medical Council’s appeal against a finding that it racially discriminated against a doctor has been published.

We have extensively reported on the case of Dr O M A Karim who was referred to a Medical Tribunal by the GMC, but the tribunal found no case to answer.  Following this determination, Dr Karim presented a tribunal claim, making complaints of direct discrimination.

An employment tribunal upheld the complaint and, in its judgement, commented that it was concerned there was ‘a level of complacency about the operation of discrimination in the work of GMC or that there might be discrimination infecting the referral process’.

The GMC successfully appealed the ruling, and the transcript of the appeal ruling has now been published – General Medical Council v Karim (Race Discrimination) [2023] EAT 87 (12 June 2023).

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Commenting on the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision, a GMC spokesperson said:

‘The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has allowed the GMC’s appeal and overturned the previous findings of the Employment Tribunal (ET), that the GMC had discriminated against Mr Omer Karim on the grounds of race during our investigation into his practice.

‘Subject to any appeal by Mr Karim, this decision means that a freshly constituted ET will hear his remaining complaints.

‘We have apologised to Mr Karim for the length of time that the fitness to practise investigation took us to complete. We acknowledge that it did take longer than we would have liked, and we are sorry about the understandable distress this caused him.

‘While the EAT agreed with the GMC’s appeal and overturned the ET’s findings against the GMC, we remain committed to working hard with health leaders to remove inequalities where they exist. We are absolutely focused on our work to target inequalities and promote equality, diversity and inclusion – both in our own processes, and across the UK health system.

‘We continue to work hard to eradicate the disproportionate referral of black and minority ethnic doctors from employers.

‘We recently carried out a regulatory fairness review, which assessed how effectively we look for the risk of bias in our own systems, and how we can embed better controls to prevent biased thinking. We are already implementing many of the review’s recommendations, and we have made firm commitments to act on the others.’

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