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.

How our Outreach teams work with the health services and doctors across the UK.

Speaking up about discrimination in medicine

All doctors have the right to work in a supportive, safe and inclusive workplace, with the confidence to raise concerns that will be listened to. Our commitment to doing everything we can to help achieve this is central to our corporate strategy for 2021-25.

We also publicly speak out about discrimination in medicine and we share any support we can offer to all those affected by these issues. For example, in response to increasing accounts of sexual harassment and assault faced by healthcare staff, we published a statement to reiterate our expectations of all doctors in the UK and communicated this widely.

Promoting fair medical education and training

We’ve increased our focus on equality, diversity and inclusion in medical education and training. For example:

Supporting inclusive patient care

Our professional standards explain 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.

And we create guides for patients across different protected characteristics, including information about the standards that lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) patients should expect from their doctor.

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.