The British Medical Association (BMA) has launched a national forum for black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) members, citing that action needs to be taken to counter Covid-19’s disproportionate toll on BAME doctors and communities.
Launched on Wednesday (10 February), the forum is intended to create a platform for BAME medics, who make up around 40% of NHS doctors, to help the BMA better advocate for their interests.
The BMA also highlighted the need to tackle structural racism and inequalities that it said have worsened during the pandemic.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said ‘there’s so much more to do’ to protect and support BAME doctors during the pandemic.
During the first wave in the UK, more than 90% of doctors who died were from a BAME background, the BMA said.
Dr Nagpaul added that the forum’s success would be assessed on its ability to make a ‘palpable difference’ to members’ workplace experiences.
The BMA also highlighted evidence that shows differential career progression and pay, and it stated that BAME doctors are more than two times as likely to be referred for fitness to practice proceedings by employers.
Doyin Atewologun, co-author of a 2019 GMC review of disproportionate referrals for disciplinary processes and who was at the launch, recommended that support for doctors in solitary roles would be a suitable starting point for regional network discussions and advocacy.
The forum will also offer allyship training for non-BAME members, designed to improve understanding of the experiences of those facing discrimination.