A case study by the General Medical Council (GMC) has revealed plans to establish ‘measures and targets’ to mitigate bias against ethnic minority doctors in fitness to practise.
In the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care’s (PSA) “Learning from Covid” report, the GMC said:
“In September our Council agreed to a step-change in ambition to bring into sharper focus the need to target and reduce these race-related differentials. In doing so, we aim to drive improvements in the inclusivity of working environments for doctors and the quality of care patients receive.”
“Our Council will soon be considering proposals to establish measures and targets around FtP referrals and differential attainment to focus energy and highlight system-wide progress on improving these outcomes more clearly. With this heightened focus we will work closely, and collaboratively, with stakeholders across the system to coordinate efforts for improving local environments, to support fairer and better outcomes for doctors and patients.”
The GMC has had a difficult relationship with the over representation of BAME doctors in fitness to practise referrals, investigations and other proceedings. Studies have found, for example, that 44% of complaints made against black doctors over five years led to investigations compared with 29% of complaints made against white doctors. Over ten years, the numbers were even more stark, with 57% of complaints progressed to investigation for black or black British doctors, 54% for Asian or Asian British doctors and 44% for white doctors.
Pulse reported the GMC to have said:
“As the number of BAME doctors in the UK workforce grows, the evidence is clear that they continue to experience disadvantage and differential treatment – in particular, BAME students/trainees experience an attainment gap in medical education and training and employers are significantly more likely to refer BAME doctors to the GMC for FTP concerns than their white peers. ‘Both issues have been longstanding concerns for the GMC.”