Careers barriers in medicine
BMA Report Finds
Careers Are Blocked by Sexuality and Other Discrimination
The report shows that discrimination is prevalent and widespread throughout the NHS and not enough is being done to tackle it.
As the BMA opens its
annual meeting in Llandudno with a theme of "diversity", the Association is
calling for zero tolerance towards all forms of discrimination.
Launching the report,
Dr George Rae, Chair of the BMA Equal Opportunities Committee, said: "The
doctors who participated in this study have told us that not enough is being
done in the NHS to combat discrimination. The report makes uncomfortable
reading – doctors are facing barriers to their career progression every day
of their lives because of their gender, ethnicity, disability or sexual
One respondent said:
"When I first came here I wasn't provided with appropriate information ...
The information that I got back (from the GMC) was quite clear that my
degree was recognised and I would be able to practise here. There was
nothing in those documents suggesting that between the recognition of my
qualification and starting to work, that there was an adjustment of taking
the PLAB … so it was a shock when I went to the GMC and they said you have
to take the PLAB."
As one disabled doctor
put it: "I had a very good CV and was shortlisted for lots of jobs so
I attended many interviews … I always arranged to visit early and meet at
least one of the consultants on the interview committee beforehand. I kept
being turned down at interview and on two occasions was asked to wait after
the other candidates had left and was told I had been turned down because of
my [disability]. Once the consultant who spoke to me told me that I should
not be applying for clinical jobs at all and advised me to change career."
One woman doctor said:
"I have encountered extreme obstacles in my career progression to the point
where I frankly didn't really want to speak to you. My memories are very
painful and very unpleasant, however, I suppose, for the good of the cause I
felt it an obligation to do so. But I am sure there will be women whose
experiences are so painful they will not be willing to even discuss it."
One gay doctor said: "If I look at my friends who are gay doctors they don't have the freedom to be open about their sexuality, partially because their perception of the risk of being open about their sexuality is so great that they perceive it is going to stop their career progression. Or they are going to experience discrimination in the workplace or people aren't going to communicate with them, that they would rather stay closeted at work than come out."
Read the full 82-page Report on the British Medical Association's website (Adobe Acrobat reader required).
27 June, 2004