A DOCTORS union are calling out a report from a government committee due to its ignorance of racism in the NHS.
The British Medical Association (BMA) have responded to the Sewell report which was conducted by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) stating that it ignores ‘well documented’ racism in the NHS.
The BMA have highlighted structural race inequality and discrimination in policies, attitudes and behaviours in society as having a major impact on the outcomes of many ethnic minority health workers.
The union have published a response stating that the findings of the Sewell report do not give a true representation of the barriers including the institutional racism, discriminatory processes, policies, and attitudes within the NHS experienced by ethnic minorities.
The BMA has said that the commission is missing the opportunity to bring forward solutions to tackle racial inequalities in the UK.
The BMA, in their response, have analysed the CRED report’s doctor-specific findings based on research and well documented negative experiences of doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds in education, training and the workplace.
The response also calls out elements of the report that relate to inequalities in health like the fact that 85 per cent of doctors who died from Covid-19 were from ethnic minorities.
The union have said that the main downfall of the Sewell report is the narrative which underplays the role of structural racism.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, said: “The way in which the authors chose to analyse the data and evidence submitted to the Commission questions the validity of the entire report. They made sweeping statements of success and as such showed little acknowledgement of the indisputable disparities in experiences and outcomes for doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds. When the NHS began in 1948, short-staffed positions were filled with staff from UK colonies and former colonies. As such the NHS has always been more racially diverse than the UK population itself. While the report celebrates this diversity, it ignores the lived experience of many ethnic minority healthcare workers as well as the wealth of evidence that shows that for these staff working in the NHS has been, at best, unfair and unequal. There simply hasn’t been enough progress made here.
“The documentation of racism occurring at a systemic level within the NHS is enormous, tough to process, very often not addressed and assumed to be part of the job for ethnic minority doctors and healthcare workers. This should not be the case and it is hard to comprehend how the CRED race report failed to see this. Having missed an opportunity with this report we’d strongly urge the Government to take the BMA’s response seriously and begin to tackle structural racism within the health service so that the values of fairness and equity we ascribe to patient care applies equally to those that work within the NHS. We hope that Sajid Javid, the first health secretary at Westminster from an ethnic minority background, will press forward in making the changes needed to address the structural racism within the healthcare sector.”
Although the BMA has been critical for most of the report, it is in agreement with seven of the recommendations put forward by the authors.