How we support equality diversity and inclusion in medicine
Practical support for healthcare organisations and doctors
Our outreach teams across the UK work with healthcare organisations to help them create supportive and inclusive working and training environments. This includes:
- sharing data, insight and tools to help health services identify and resolve local issues.
- giving advice to responsible officers about fitness to practise concerns to make sure those they raise with us are fair and accurate.
- running training sessions on our professional standards where doctors need extra support. These include our free Welcome to UK practice workshops for doctors new to the UK.
Promoting fair medical education and training
We’ve increased our focus on equality, diversity and inclusion in medical education and training. For example:
- we’ve conducted or commissioned several pieces of research on differential attainment and disadvantage in medical education. Differential attainment is the gap between attainment levels of different groups of doctors. We share practical ideas for tackling this issue with education bodies and trainers across the UK.
- postgraduate deans submit annual action plans to update us on how they’re addressing differential attainment. We’re developing guidance to support royal colleges to submit these action plans too. Where we identify initiatives that are creating rapid progress, we share these with organisations across the UK.
- we’ve created guidance to help royal colleges and faculties tackle inequalities in medical education.
- our Welcomed and valued guidance for medical schools and postgraduate educators has advice on supporting disabled learners.
Supporting inclusive patient care
Our ethical guidance explains that doctors must give patients information and advice in a way they can understand. Patients have the right to ask their doctors, practice or clinic if they need any help with communication – for example, a sign language interpreter.
We have a range of resources for doctors to help them make their practice more accessible for patients with a learning disability. This covers key learning points on communicating with patients and working with their carers.
We’ve also developed practical tips on being inclusive to trans and non-binary people. This includes taking care to use a patient’s preferred name and title, and working with Gender Identity Clinics for tailored and timely treatment.
Using research to drive change
In 2019, we commissioned research to identify what was driving a greater proportion of ethnic minority doctors and international medical graduates to be referred to us by employers. The ‘Fair to refer?’ report identified recommendations to address these issues, which included:
- improving induction, feedback and support for doctors new to the UK or the health service, or for doctors working in isolated roles.
- addressing the systemic issues that prevent a focus on learning, rather than blame, when something goes wrong.
- making sure that positive and inclusive leadership is more consistent across the health service.
- developing a way to check that these recommendations are delivered.
We’re working with responsible officers and organisations across the UK to meet these recommendations. And we’ve set a target to eradicate this disproportionate pattern, which will help us all keep focused on tackling this issue.