Can Do Health & Care - NHS Uncomfortable Truths Report

14 | ICS System Learning: Uncomfortable Truths Uncomfortable Truth 5: Ethnic minority professionals are disproportionately impacted by fitness to practise referrals and proceedings. Social Work England, Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Medical Council Harprit: The reality for people who look like me is that in work, we are expected to fit in. I have changed my accent, my dress and my hair, and lost my cultural heritage in order to progress in my career and fit into society. We are described as minority communities but we are the global majority. Many people in roles such as mine have had negative experiences, and the reason is unconscious bias, though I would question whether bias is really unconscious or whether we are just not doing our homework to understand the communities we work alongside. There are huge disparities in Fitness to Practice referrals between ethnic minority communities and white communities across all health and care professions. Unconscious bias may be a reason, but we can also argue it is simply bias and racism. When staff say ‘I don’t understand what they are saying’ or ‘I don’t understand their accent’ or ‘their practice in their other country is different’ it suggests people are not living up to the standards of ‘our country’. Rather than doing our homework and working alongside people we push the problem to a professional body to review, so that it is ‘not my problem to fix’. It is an uncomfortable truth that we put sticking plasters on these problems, creating an action plan, holding some events, doing listening exercises, but we don’t get to the crux of the problem. These are not new issues, we just haven’t been willing to look at them. “We need to stop trying to de-bias people, stop sending people on training, stop the sticking plaster interventions, and instead look at our system, our practices and our processes, and ask ourselves what we are doing wrong and what we need to change if we are really going to have inclusive organisations where people belong.” Tanvir: BAPIO has been a sort of shield for physicians of Indian origin and deprived groups for a long time. Its origins are in activism as there was inequity in the visa system for doctors in the early 2000s. A seminal moment was the suicide of Imran Yousuf, a young doctor who couldn’t get a job and a visa, and this galvanised the movement. Now BAPIO is a system partner working very closely with all sectors. BAPIO has intervened in cases in several Trusts where people have been referred to the General Medical Council (GMC) for Fitness to Practice, and 80% of those issues have been resolved. At the last BAPIO conference the GMC admitted they have a problem with differential attainment, which they plan to weed out by 2031. Interestingly we have a national target to be carbon neutral by 2030; if carbon is more important than people we are not in a good conversation space.

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