NHS human resources staff accused of ignoring racism and bullying of Asian doctors

NHS HR professionals have been accused of turning a blind eye to institutional racism and the bullying of Asian doctors.

Leading figures have told Personnel Today how HR teams are allowing a minority of racist line managers to make working life tough for migrant medics.

Their comments come after a General Medical Council (GMC) report showed that doctors trained overseas were twice as likely to face formal disciplinary hearings once a complaint had been made as those who graduated in the UK.

Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, told Personnel Today: “There is no doubt that bullying of Asian doctors goes on.

“The small minority of racists in the NHS take complaints [about foreign doctors] to HR. HR needs better training in handling these issues.”

Amit Kapadia, director of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme Forum campaign group, said things got worse after last month’s NHS terror arrests.

“The situation has now calmed down a bit, but there are concerns that it could get bad again if another incident happens,” he added.

“HR should take responsibility for ensuring that the political situation will not affect employees in the workplace. HR departments can definitely do a lot more. Employers turn a blind eye.”

NHS Employers, the body responsible for the health service workforce, insisted there was no institutional racism in the NHS.

Deputy director Sian Thomas said: “Employers in the NHS are required by law to follow clear directions when deciding whether to refer doctors in difficulty to the GMC that avoid discrimination from arising.”

Foreign docs in the dock

  • The General Medical Council (GMC) report, Fitness to Practise – Annual Statistics, found that less than 16% of complaints against UK-trained doctors resulted in a fitness-to-practise hearing.
  • More than 31% of cases against those trained elsewhere in the EU, and almost 34% of those trained outside the EU, led to a hearing.
  • Of 54 doctors struck off by the GMC last year, 35 had been trained outside the UK. Offences included sexual misconduct, dishonesty, and inadequate patient care.

Source: GMC

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