Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

The NHS owes doctors who trained abroad an apology for racism

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 31 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2360
  1. Rajgopalan Menon, retired GP and former chair Leeds Local Medical Committee
  1. menonsnr{at}

Racial abuse was ubiquitous but the NHS offered a total lack of support, writes Rajgopalan Menon, reflecting on a 40-odd year career as a GP

As a doctor who trained in the southern Indian city of Visakhapatnam and started working for the NHS in 1974, my experiences are similar to those of many doctors from the Indian subcontinent who arrived in the UK in the late ’60s and ’70s.

All non-white staff faced overt racial abuse, but we just had to cope. Being referred to as a “wog” was a regular occurrence. More alarming was the constant use of “black bastard” by patients at night in the emergency department of a district general hospital of a northern English mill town.

I remember being on call for paediatrics for a month—only the consultants alternated—covering all admissions, the special care baby unit, …

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