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Specialty training: ethnic minority doctors’ reduced chance of being appointed is “unacceptable”

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 12 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m479

Read all of the articles in our special issue on Racism in Medicine

  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

More than 25 years after two GPs uncovered bias in appointments to specialty training posts, new data show that the ethnicity gap persists, reports Gareth Iacobucci

Doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely than white doctors to be considered suitable for appointment to specialty training jobs in the UK, an analysis of new data obtained for The BMJ has found.

The findings indicate that little progress has been made in tackling a bias in recruitment that was highlighted in a landmark BMJ paper in1993.1 This found that doctors with English names were twice as likely to be shortlisted for senior house officer jobs as those with Asian names, despite having the same experience and training.

Aneez Esmail, professor of general practice at the University of Manchester, who carried out the 1993 research, said he was disappointed that 27 years later ethnic minority doctors were still less successful than white doctors in securing specialty training posts.

Esmail and fellow GP Sam Everington were arrested and charged with making fraudulent applications back in 1993 for using 46 made-up CVs to apply to 23 senior house officer posts, half with English and half with Asian names. They said their work showed that discrimination took place at shortlisting and suggested ways to reduce it, such as …

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