Racism in the medical profession: the experience of UK graduates

Lorelei Cooke, Susan Halford, Pauline Leonard

Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book


Aim The aim of the study was to explore the nature of racism in the medical profession and to consider remedial strategies. Method A survey of 476 UK trained doctors was undertaken as part of the BMA cohort study of 1995 medical graduates. Doctors were asked their views on the extent to which ethnicity was a factor in career progression. Four focus groups involving 33 doctors were used to examine the issue in greater depth. Findings In the population of UK graduates racism is manifest in access to training and careers, and in norms of acceptable behaviour. The system is sustained by the reluctance of trainees to complain and the widely held view within the profession that problems encountered by trainees from an ethnic minority are due to valid reasons such as ‘not understanding English culture’. Recommendations Managers need to ensure that the shortlisting and selection process for training posts is objective and transparent. The profession must show leadership in addressing a professional culture that sustains racism. The government needs to end the artificial competition for postgraduate training by expanding training opportunities in line with the UK’s need for trained doctors.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
PublisherBritish Medical Association, Health Policy and Economic Research Unit
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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