GMC statement on ethnically diverse medical school teaching materials

We’ve been giving some thought to how we can encourage positive change in medical education and training, after lots of doctors and students wrote to us recently asking that we pass guidance requiring course material in medical schools to include ethnically diverse examples of case presentations.

I’m grateful to those who contacted us, and supported a linked petition, for highlighting the issue. We agree that all aspects that represent diversity, including BME patients, should be acknowledged throughout teaching to be better representative of the society we all live in. We want doctors to be able to provide the best possible care to all patients.

Our guidance of education standards, Promoting excellence, is clear that curricula must give medical students the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the needs of patients from diverse social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds (requirement 5.3, p33).

But we will be working with the UK’s medical schools on guidance that includes ethnically diverse examples of case presentations in their curricula. We will continue to listen and act to make sure that diversity is properly represented in all aspects of medical teaching and learning.

We also want to ensure that race and diversity issues are considered in postgraduate curricula to make sure that they meet all patient and population needs, and we will raise this with other members of the Curriculum Oversight Group and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. More broadly in future reviews of the Generic Professional Capabilities we will ensure awareness of race and diversity issues are more explicit as part of our commitment to meeting patient and population needs as well as ensuring that they are considered in the selection and recognition of trainers.

We know that we can always do more to ensure our standards are being met, and we will work on this to encourage greater BME representation in medical teaching and training. We want to be active in driving change that is real and effective in support of black and minority ethnic students, trainees, doctors and patients in the UK.

Prof Colin Melville, Medical Director and Director, Education & Standards