BMA warns doctors’ career paths are blocked by discrimination

Doctors’
careers are being blocked because of discrimination based on disability,
ethnicity and sexuality, warns a new report from the British Medical
Association (BMA).

The
report, published on Sunday, shows discrimination is prevalent and widespread
throughout the NHS, and not enough is being done to tackle it.

It
reveals that while six in 10 ‘associate specialists’ are from ethnic
minorities, more than seven in 10 of the higher ranked consultant position are
white. Women are also poorly represented at senior level, with only 24 per cent
holding the consultant role.

Dr
George Rae, chairman of the BMA Equal Opportunities Committee, said: "The
doctors who participated in this study have told us that not enough is being
done in the NHS to combat discrimination.

"It
is not acceptable for anyone to think this is someone else’s problem. It is
everyone’s problem. We are all responsible for creating the current environment
and it is only through our collective and individual actions that we can start
to move forward.

"Attitudes
must change first, and by launching this report the BMA hopes to spearhead this
change," Rae said.

The
report’s key recommendations include the following:

 – The BMA should work with the health
departments to develop a comprehensive ‘zero tolerance’ strategy for the NHS
covering all forms of discrimination experienced by doctors

 – All medical schools should include
diversity and equality awareness in the undergraduate curriculum

 – Staff and associate specialist grades must
have opportunities for career development

 – Trusts should ensure that there is openness
and transparency within the clinical excellence awards system

 – Trusts, medical schools and primary care
organisations must take action to ensure they meet their legal obligations
under the Disability Discrimination Act

 – Flexible working needs to be valued as a
positive career option for both men and women by everyone in the
profession 


The BMA should produce guidance on sexual orientation to address some of the
issues and concerns for doctors as employers and employees, in light of the new
Employment Equality (sexual orientation) Regulations

By Daniel Thomas

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