Intended for healthcare professionals


Racism in medicine: why equality matters to everyone

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 12 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m530

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

  1. Victor Adebowale, incoming chair1,
  2. Mala Rao, professor2
  1. 1NHS Confederation, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Primary care and Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: M Rao mala.rao{at}

A race equality observatory is needed to provide leadership and data

This issue of The BMJ, with its focus on race and health, comes as the UK is trying to make sense of the societal upheavals that have convulsed the country in recent times. They have put race, racism, and power under close scrutiny.

Brexit marked a watershed moment in the nation’s history. Anti-immigrant sentiment was found to be a key predictor of the leave vote,1 with ethnic minorities facing rising and increasingly overt racism since the 2016 referendum.2 And last month the Metropolitan police announced the roll-out of facial recognition technology in London despite the US National Institute of Standards and Technology alerting policy makers to the technology’s gender and race bias and the risks that ethnic minority people will be falsely accused of crime.3

The NHS isn’t immune to these challenges, as the reflections and insights portrayed in this collection of articles confirm ( Research has shown differential attainment by ethnicity in the medical workforce across all measures of training and career progression. …

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