Doctor warns many will quit their jobs at the NHS due to racial bias
Dr Raj Padmanabhan, consultant anaesthetist and the first chair of BMA Scotland’s Race Equality Forum, spoke about racial discrimination at the NHS which has led to many quitting their jobs.
In a landmark report published by BMA, it was found that a third of ethnic minority doctors across the UK, 42% of Black doctors and 41% of Asian doctors have already left or considered leaving due to racial discrimination at workplace. It was also noted that out of all participants of the survey, 276 (13.6%) were medics based in Scotland.
Dr Padmanabhan asserted that racial prejudice at the NHS needs to be tackled and said, “First and foremost, this behaviour and some of the barriers that doctors from ethnic minorities face is simply wrong. We must condemn it and tackle it as a moral imperative.”
He added, “But it is also a real concern that, at a time when we are short of doctors and at risk of losing more to burn out and exhaustion, discriminatory behaviour will push more vital staff out of the NHS.”
The medics who took part in the survey admitted that many of the patients refused to get treated by them as their names “did not sound British”. They were also considered to be “a troublemaker” if they raised their voices against racism and mentioned that people often mispronounced their names.
The report also informs about significantly low complaint reports about any incidents related to racism, institutional barriers for those who gained their qualifications abroad from progressing further in their careers and effects on their mental health.
A similar survey was conducted in November last year in Scotland which showed similar trends and results, and highlighted that doctors belonging to ethnic minority communities had to make multiple applications before being selected for the job.
Dr Padmanabhan confirmed that he had a meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss the issues and plans to introduce training sessions for the staff to help them better understand innate bias and improve research on race at the NHS.