Indian doctors suffer bias within UK medical system
Doctors trained in countries like India are suffering from an inherent bias within the UK medical system, a new report has indicated.
An analysis of the UK's General Medical Council (GMC) data between 1996 and 2013 revealed that Indian doctors were five times more likely to undergo "performance assessments within the state-funded National Health Service (NHS).
The research conducted by University College London (UCL) and published in 'BMC Medical Education' journal recently concluded that doctors trained outside the UK had significantly higher rates of GMC performance assessments than UK-trained doctors. "Bias within the system, particularly in terms of who is complained about, could be and probably is a factor. But I suspect it is not the only factor. We have raised these issues and we think more research is needed to tease apart different explanatory factors," said Dr Henry Potts, the lead author of the research.
The report recommends a more globalised testing arrangement that would help counter this imbalance.
"There may be implications for transnational agreements on freedom of movement of healthcare professionals, and for what testing is required by national governments of individuals trained elsewhere," the report said.
Susan Goldsmith, Deputy Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said: "We believe doctors and patients are best served by bringing in a single route to UK practice, replacing the multiple routes that exist now.
We are consulting on a medical licensing assessment that would be taken by every doctor wishing to practise in the UK, regardless of where they qualified in the world." While Indian doctors were five times more likely to face investigations, Bangladeshi doctors fared the worst at 13 times.
Doctors from Egypt and Nigeria were eight times more likely to be questioned, compared to seven times more likelihood for Iraqi doctors and six times for Germans. Doctors from India make up a large chunk of the NHS workforce and the GMC currently has 25,281 Indian-trained doctors on its register. The latest analysis supports the claims of the British Association of Physicians of Indian-origin, launched a high court battle in 2014.