Statement on race discrimination Employment Tribunal ruling

Following the judgment by Reading Employment Tribunal in the case of Mr Omer Karim, the General Medical Council (GMC) has sought legal advice on the ruling.

The Council of the GMC – the governing body made up of six medical and six non-medical members – has considered the ruling and its implications and taken the decision to appeal the tribunal’s judgment.

Dame Clare Marx, Chair of the GMC, said:

‘We know that many doctors feel discriminated against by the way in which referrals to the GMC are handled, and there remains much for us and others to do to change that.

‘But accepting a flawed tribunal judgment will not help achieve the aims we and others share to tackle inequalities where they exist in disciplinary proceedings for healthcare professionals.’

In its ruling the tribunal wrongly concludes that disproportionate referrals to the GMC by employers constitutes evidence of direct discrimination in Mr Karim’s case. In addition the facts of the comparator case referred to in the hearing differed in key respects from those of Mr Karim’s.

Dame Clare Marx added: ‘We know and are sorry that this will prolong uncertainty and anxiety for all involved, and we will seek to resolve this as swiftly as possible.’

The GMC will continue its programme of work to address concerns around discrimination and disproportionate referrals of ethnic minority doctors. This includes:

  • Sharing with employers and health leaders the findings of independent research into the drivers of disproportionate referral of ethnic minority doctors.
  • Taking additional steps to make sure a referral from an employer is appropriate before it is submitted.
  • New targets to eliminate disproportionality in fitness to practise referrals and differential attainment in medical education and training.
  • Continued focus on assuring the GMC’s own ways of working are free from bias through regular audits of our own fitness to practise processes.