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Racism in medicine Institutional racism and the medical profession Aneez Esmail University of Manchester.

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Presentation on theme: "Racism in medicine Institutional racism and the medical profession Aneez Esmail University of Manchester."— Presentation transcript:

1 Racism in medicine Institutional racism and the medical profession Aneez Esmail University of Manchester

2 Black and ethnic minority communities are not getting the services that they are entitled to… … the institutional racism that is responsible for this is a disgrace and a festering abscess which is at present a blot upon the good name of the NHS. The Bennett Inquiry – April 2004

3 Institutional racism Institutional racism is the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping, which disadvantage minority ethnic peopleInstitutional racism is the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping, which disadvantage minority ethnic people Sir William McPherson in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 1999

4 What is the evidence ? The professional legacy Applications to medical school Examinations Getting a job –Career progression and promotion Remuneration Complaints and suspensions

5 Medical School Selection Ethnic minority applicants disadvantaged –McManus et al 1989 –Esmail et al 1995 –McManus et al 1998

6 Getting a Job Controlled trial using identical CVs with English and Asian names White candidates twice as likely to be shortlisted compared to Asians »Esmail and Everington BMJ 1993;306:691 »Esmail and Everington BMJ 1997;314:1619 Less than 10% of trusts carried out equal opportunities monitoring

7 Getting a job - Career progress 66% of medical workforce is white but 80% of all consultant appointments are taken by white doctors (DoH 2000) 42% of white doctors shortlisted for consultant appointments (12% successful) but only 28% (6% successful)of ethnic minority doctors shortlisted (CRE 1996)

8 Getting stuck in a job 66% of staff grade doctors and 65% of associate specialist grades qualified overseas (DoH 2001) 44% of all locums qualified in South Asia or West Africa. 70% of long term locums qualified overseas (Audit Commission 1995) In nearly 80% of trusts surveyed, one or more locums employed for more than 12 months (Atherton and Murray 2001)

9 Complaints Overrepresentation of doctors from ethnic minorities in cases brought before the GMC Esmail and Everington BMJ 1994;308:1374 Ethnic minority doctors 6 times more likely to be charged with offences compared to white doctors Complete lack of transparency in process

10 Offences with which doctors were charged BMJ 1994;308: 1374

11 Thus in the three studies conducted over a period of nine years, the PSI found unexplained differences in the treatment by the GMC of overseas qualifiers as compared with UK qualifiers; the overseas qualifiers were more severely dealt with. This may or may not indicate that there is racial bias within the GMC….. It ought to be possible to refute a suggestion of bias if it can be demonstrated that decisions are taken according to objective criteria and by the consistent application of established standards. Professor Allen has repeatedly advised the GMC that it will be unable to refute the allegations of racial bias unless and until it develops objective standards and criteria….. without such standards and criteria, the GMC will be unable to satisfy the public that it is complying with its duty to protect patients. Dame Janet Smith – The Shipman Inquiry

12 Racism objectifies and makes a person into a thing and a thing by definition has no capacity for human relationships…. The unique complexity of a human being cannot be summed up and reduced by the colour of the skin. The patient who feels understood and cared for, who felt taken seriously and respected was less likely to be assaultative than one who felt rejected, powerless, despised, put down or dismissed. Frantz Fanon

13 Suspensions Mainly anecdotal Almost a third of ethnic minority staff experienced bullying and harassment (Positively Diverse, DoH 2001) 45% of black and asian doctors reported being bullied at work compared with 34% of white doctors (Quine 2002)

14 Distinction and Discretionary Awards 5.4% of distinction awards held by ethnic minorities (22% of all consultants) ACDA 2000 White consultants 3.5 times more likely to obtain award (Esmail et al BMJ 1998;316:193-195) White consultants nearly 2 times more likely to receive discretionary points (4 times more likely if higher awards considered)

15 Discretionary points Such a high level of subjectivity is anathema to the successful application of equal opportunity guidelines since it works to the disadvantage of ethnic minorities, both in operation and perception… This case falls into the worst category of racial discrimination against a senior medical professional (Dr M Nasr v. Salisbury NHS Trust)

16 The professional response Its all out there My best friends are black We are professionals – we dont discriminate How can we – many of us are black anyway

17 If it is only bad people who are prejudiced, that would not have such a strong effect. Most people would not wish to imitate them and so, such prejudices would not have much effect except in exceptional times. It is the prejudices of good people that are so dangerous. Vikram Seth. A suitable boy. London: Phoenix, 1993.

18 What happened to the medical profession of Germany is stern testimony to the fact that acceptance of or even silence before anti- semitism and the rest of the trappings of racism....can lead to the dishonour and crime in which the entire medical profession of a country must in the last analysis be considered an accomplice. Andrew C Ivy Statement In: Mitsherlich A, Mielke F. Doctors of infancy: the story of the nazi medical crimes. New York. Schuman. 1949: xii-xiii


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