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RCP responds to Racism in Medicine report

The RCP has responded to the British Medical Association’s Racism in Medicine survey which asked UK doctors and medical students about their experience of racism in the medical profession and the workplace. 

Responding to the findings, Sir Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), said: “The results of this survey make for painful but essential reading. Nobody should come to work and experience discrimination and racism. 

“To hear that so many of those discriminated against don’t report their experience for fear of not being believed is incredibly concerning. Healthcare organisations must have independent processes in place so that staff feel safe and secure in reporting concerns.    

“Our own surveys of newly qualified consultant physicians show that those from ethnic minority backgrounds are consistently disadvantaged when applying for jobs so it’s clear that discrimination continues to affect clinicians’ careers at all stages. 

“While we’re pleased to see recognition of the work that many organisations are doing to tackle discrimination – including the RCP with our independent review into equality, diversity and inclusion – we know that so much more needs to be done. 

“The way that society is currently set up means some people and groups have to overcome huge barriers for them to fulfil their potential. That is why levelling the playing field is so essential. In medicine, that means widening participation in medical schools. Change will come in part from increasing the diversity of those who lead and work in the NHS. That is why the RCP has called for wider participation in medical schools.

“We agree medical training should also include health inequalities because tackling racism also requires improving our knowledge and understanding of ethnic inequalities in health outcomes for patients.

“We also fully agree that taking long-term action on discrimination starts with improving transparency at all stages, including asking organisations that are responsible for the progression of doctors to publish their outcomes by ethnicity. For our own part we know we have more to do to support this agenda. This includes publishing postgraduate training outcomes by ethnicity and other characteristics in greater detail and acting on disparities, which we will address through the Federation of the Royal Colleges of the Physicians of the UK and our own Education team.”