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Discrimination must be driven out of the NHS

22 July 2021

Responding to the Medical Workforce Race Equality Standard (MWRES) report published by NHS England, which looks at the experiences of doctors from an ethnic minority background within the NHS workforce, Dr Dave Chung and Dr Hodon Abdi, co-chairs of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said:

“Over the past year some people in Medicine have denied that structural racism exists, demanding to see evidence of it, negating the lived experience of ethnic minority doctors. The MWRES report provides a robust description of the real discrimination that ethnic minority doctors face within the NHS.

“It is especially troubling to read that in the upper echelons of medicine, be it in leadership, management, or Academia, there is marked under representation of ethnic minority doctors. This is deeply concerning, it sends out the message, whether deliberate or not, that if you are an ethnic minority doctor in the UK, you may not have access to these roles, or they may be denied to you.

“The report indicates that many ethnic minority doctors, despite these findings, are still highly motivated and are making up a higher proportion of the workforce than ever, the bedrock of the NHS. But they cannot be denied their rightful contribution to leadership and management both now and in the future.

“The NHS, its leaders and other health organisations must use this opportunity to start a process of self-examination to determine why this situation has arisen, and how they can change this for the better.

“At the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, we recognise the inequities and inequalities that persist, but we have begun the process of addressing them by forming the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee and putting these issues on our agenda. These are the first steps towards tackling inequities and inequalities within Emergency Medicine and the College. This report warrants the same decisive action from the NHS and its leaders, it is essential that steps are now taken towards real and meaningful change.”

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