NHS is ‘riddled with racism’, says British Medical Association chair

A survey found at least 75% of ethnic minority doctors experienced racism more than once in the past two years and 17.4% experienced regular racism at work.

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The chair of the council of the British Medical Association has said the NHS is “riddled with racism” following the findings of a survey into the experiences of doctors.

The survey found at least 75% of ethnic minority doctors experienced racism more than once in the past two years and 17.4% experienced regular racism at work.

Speaking to the BBC, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “This is about a moral right for anyone who works for the NHS to be treated fairly.”

The NHS’s medical director of primary care, Dr Nikki Kanani, responded by telling the broadcaster that racism and discrimination of any kind “should not be tolerated by anyone”.

“While our latest equality report [in 2020] shows that we have made progress in some areas of the NHS, it is completely unacceptable for anyone to experience racism, discrimination or prejudice at work, and NHS organisations should continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to all and any form of discrimination,” she said.

The survey provided to the BBC of more than 2,000 people found around 40% of NHS doctors are from minority backgrounds.

More than 70% of those who had faced racism at work did not complain about it.

Almost 20% said they considered leaving their job or had left their job in the past two years because of racism.

Nearly 60% said racism at work had impacted their mental health and wellbeing, and 20% said they experienced racism from patients.