Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

The NHS owes doctors who trained abroad an apology for racism

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2360 (Published 31 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2360

Re: The NHS owes doctors who trained abroad an apology for racism

This view from Dr Menon describes the endemic racism Non-white doctors faced/ are facing in the National Health Service over the decades.

Whilst there has been some progress made towards improving racism towards non-white doctors, a considerable amount of work still needs to be done. Seventy years of NHS celebration fails to acknowledge the contribution by the doctors of Indian origin in offering the best of care to UK health care, often in deprived areas, and acute services such as Accident & Emergency and GP practices where nobody wants to work.

Challenges faced by the previous generation of Indian origin doctors included a differential success rate in the Post Graduate Examinations, failure to progress up the career ladder in spite of having all the qualifications, a high rate of referral to the regulatory organisation - the GMC - and a higher proportion of internal organisational investigations and disciplinary proceedings.

In spite of the institutional racism in the fabric of the NHS, we all get a sense of satisfaction and pride in doing our jobs day and night. A simple "thank you" from a sick patient or a "Xmas card" from a family is enough to motivate me (and thousands of other healthcare staff) to go above and beyond day after day. I thank all my patients, their families and all my team over these years for making my NHS experience rewarding.

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 June 2018
Vijayan Suresh
Consultant Renal Physician
University Hospitals of Birmingham
Birmingham