Intended for healthcare professionals


Ethnic profile of the doctors in the United Kingdom

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:583
  1. Isobel Bowler, independent health services researcher (
  1. 90 Ranmoor Road, Sheffield S10 3HJ

    A diverse group of doctors would appreciate the concerns of the population better

    The population of doctors working in the United Kingdom differs notably in ethnic profile from the wider population. Of the almost 81 000 doctors employed by trusts in England in 2003, 63% were white, 23% Asian, 4% black, 1% of mixed race, and 7% from other ethnic groups (2% unrecorded).1 White people make up 92% of the population of the United Kingdom.2

    Two reasons exist for this difference. Firstly, the United Kingdom is a net importer of doctors, recruiting an increasing number trained in other countries, many of non-white ethnicity. Secondly, more British ethnic minority students are entering medicine. In this issue Goldacre et al show that the percentage of non-white doctors among UK graduates has increased substantially, from about 2% in 1974 to almost 30% by 2005 (p 597).3 The ethnic profile of students entering medical school is different from that of the university …

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