Millennium Post

Doctoring racism

As India toys with lexical innovations in trying to describe Bangladeshis, pondering if the hapless economic migrants be branded as infiltrators or be granted the status of refugees with legal permits to stay on, Indian doctors in United Kingdom, ironically enough, wage a battle uncannily similar. An official inquiry into the National Health Service (NHS) of Britain has found the organisation guilty of ‘institutional racism’, with systemic discrimination against international medical graduates (IMGs) and medical practitioners from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds carried out regularly. Not only are IMGs and doctors from BME category noxiously overrepresented in the most entry-level and lower-order jobs, they are less likely to get promotions and several times more likely to face harsh and high-impact decisions in case of professional misconduct than their white counterparts. IMGs from South Asian backgrounds, particularly Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi medical practitioners, face maximum layoffs in UK, four times more than those trained locally or born to white British, European or Western parents. According to data from the General Medical Council in UK, in the past five years, 117 doctors trained in India and Pakistan have been barred from working in the country, while the statistics show that the likelihood of something similar befalling a white or British-trained doctor is only 1 in 1000. Given that NHS is sustained by its BME staff, and was physically and logistically built and expanded since its inception in 1950s with the help of immigrant workers, medical professionals from all across the world, but particularly those from the Indian subcontinent, the prevalence of deep-seated racism is both unfortunate and extremely unhelpful. NHS is the lifeline of Britain, which provides free of cost medical care to a massive number of its people. Inasmuch as its black and Asian staff is the backbone of this pivotal service, NHS will be crippled in hours time if a workers’ strike is organised. Institutional racism is an old malady and the ongoing struggle by Asians and blacks for equal opportunity and acceptance is their resistance to ‘Great’ Britain’s rather anachronistic colonial hangover that needs to stop immediately.
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