Views & Reviews Personal views

Collecting feathers in the health service

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 01 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:260

I am a senior practitioner. I am passionate about my work and about the NHS, which is why I have much to say on racism within the organisation. Racism is a threat to any organisation. The police force was the first state body to be publicly exposed as having “institutional racism.” The NHS faces the same allegation. An accusation of racism leads to denial or the accuser being accused of playing the “race card.” It seems that consciously or not some people are blind to racism, at least that which is real for the visible minority.

When I proposed changing my name to give me a better chance of securing an interview to study medicine in the 1980s, I was considered naive; a London medical school proved me not so naive some years later. At my graduation ball the professor of surgery gave me some advice: “Even with your surgery medal you will have to work harder, be smarter, try and join the right …

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