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Press Release: Royal College of Physicians uncovers years of discrimination against black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) doctors are consistently disadvantaged when applying for jobs, according to a report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The RCP analysed data from 8 years’ worth of annual surveys reporting on the experiences of, and outcomes for, clinicians within a year of completing their medical certificate of completion of training (CCT). The findings provide consistent evidence of trainees from BAME background being less successful at consultant interview.

In surveys from previous years, CCT holders who described themselves as being of white ethnicity appeared to apply for fewer posts but were more likely to be shortlisted and to be offered a post. This year’s survey results show that this is still the case, with respondents of white ethnicity (61%)  far more likely to be shortlisted for interview and offered a post despite applying for fewer posts than their BAME counterpart (mean 1.3 versus 2.0 for all other ethnic groups).

White respondents had a 98% chance of being shortlisted after their first application, compared with 91% of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) respondents. This gap widened even further when it came to the likelihood of being offered a post the first-time round: 29% of white respondents were offered a post after being shortlisted for the first time, compared with just 12% of BAME respondents.

The RCP is working closely with NHS England and Improvement, NHS Employers and the General Medical Council (GMC) to make sure that employers are aware of these findings and that more is done to ensure a level playing field. The findings from last year have already been incorporated into NHS England’s Workforce Race Equality Standards (WRES).

Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians said: “It is clear from the results of this survey that racial discrimination is still a major issue within the NHS. It’s a travesty that any healthcare appointment would be based on anything other than ability.

“We need to make sure that everyone is given equal opportunities to achieve their potential and that the best doctors are appointed to the right jobs.

“I look forward to working closely with the NHS, the GMC and other medical bodies to do everything we can to put an end to racial discrimination in healthcare for good.”

Charlie Massey, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said: “This important and welcome report raises many of the same systematic issues we have identified in our own work, such as the differences in educational outcomes depending on the ethnicity and backgrounds of doctors.

“All doctors should have the same opportunities to fulfil their potential, and it is unacceptable if there are biases that prevent this from happening.”

Professor Mala Rao OBE, medical adviser for the Workforce Race Equality Strategy Implementation Team said: “The RCP should be commended for highlighting the persistence of ethnic variation in the rate of success in securing a consultant post, in each of the past 8 years.

“Its 2018 data did indeed inspire the Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard (MWRES) steering group to include this analysis in its indicator set and other medical royal colleges to begin to examine their own data.

“The RCP’s firm stance against racism and its determination to understand how differential attainment affects its BAME members in their career progression are hugely welcome, as this encourages the whole of the medical workforce to come together to share learning and address race inequalities across the specialties”. 

Notes to editors

For more information please contact RCP Media Manager Hannah Perlin by emailing hannah.perlin@rcplondon.ac.uk or calling 0203 075 1466.

For out-of-hours urgent enquiries, please call 07896 416409.

About the survey

This is the eleventh survey reporting the experiences of, and outcomes for, CCT holders within one year of gaining their CCT. It covers physicians who gained their CCT in 2018 in all 30 medical specialties in the UK. The survey was sent to 722 CCT holders in total.

This unique survey is a collaboration between the RCP’s Medical Workforce Unit and the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB) on behalf of the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK. It has monitored changing outcomes for CCT holders since 2009.