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Personal Views Personal views

Trying to overcome racism in the NHS

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 04 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:657

Iarrived in Britain in the late 1970s, a Ugandan Asian with a British passport and no idea of what was in store for me. I spoke the language fluently, could play Bob Dylan rather well on my trusty guitar, and had my Conjoint Board qualification under my belt. I couldn't have been better equipped. But it hasn't all been plain sailing.

It is impossible to recall all the racist incidents that have occurred during my training. The ones I mention have struck a chord simply because of their blatancy.

Generally, no one taught me, but criticism was rife when I failed. This is the one characteristic of racism that I have found most distressing. My white friends received gentle instruction, but I was largely excluded unless I asked. Yet, at every stage in my career I have had to outperform white doctors in order to get a job.

No one taught me, but criticism was rife when I failed

In my senior house officer post in East Anglia there was no in- house teaching of any sort. When I told …

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