Personal View

Allowing patients to choose the ethnicity of attending doctors is institutional racism

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g265 (Published 4 February 2014)
Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g265

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

  1. Nadeem Moghal, associate medical director, George Eliot Hospital, College Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7DJ, UK
  1. nemoghal{at}googlemail.com

Nadeem Moghal reflects on a case in which a hospital accepted the request of the parents of a patient that care should be delivered by only a white doctor

On 22 April 1993 the black teenager Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a gang of people, some of whom were finally convicted in 2012. The deficiencies in the police investigation led to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, known widely as the Macpherson report, which defined the phrase “institutional racism” as “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.”1

This concept continues to be debated, particularly by police services, the focus of the Macpherson report. The definition is intricate, nuanced, and an advance in our understanding of our society. It is relevant to every organisation, private and public. It is a definition against which individual and organisational behaviours can be tested and healthcare services are no exception. NHS organisations …

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

Article access

Article access for 1 day

Purchase this article for £20 $30 €32*

The PDF version can be downloaded as your personal record

* Prices do not include VAT

THIS WEEK'S POLL