Ethnic Minority Doctors in NHS Less Likely to be Promoted



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Ethnic Minority Doctors in NHS Less Likely to be Promoted

An investigation carried out by the BMJ Careers Journal found that white doctors were three times more likely to be promoted to a senior hospital job than a doctor from an ethnic minority.

In response to the figures, the NHS Employers Organisation said that they “added weight to concerns around discrimination”.

According to the investigation, black doctors were the least likely to secure a consultant, specialist or Trust doctor position in 2012. White candidates applying for the same jobs had a success rate of nearly 14%, as opposed to 2.7% for black doctors. The research also found that Asian and mixed ethnicity doctors were also far less likely than their white colleagues to secure senior NHS opportunities.

Interestingly, in another investigation published by, it was found that doctors from an ethnic minority background were also more likely to fail the required GP practise exam. The researchers behind the claim said that they “cannot exclude subjective bias owing to racial discrimination in the marking of the clinical skills assessment”.

This exam, which doctors have to pass in order to practise as a GP, has recently reviewed by the General Medical Council after concerns about failure rates amongst doctors who had qualified outside of the UK. Concerns about the pass rate also extended to black or other ethnic minority doctors who had been trained in the UK.

In a report prepared for the GMC, Professor Aneez Esmail of the University of Manchester, said that ethnic minority GP candidates trained in the UK were four times more likely to fail than their white UK trained colleagues at their first attempt. However, the disparity between the pass rate disappeared at the second attempt, leading to an acknowledgement that candidates who had been trained overseas may require more training and support.

The BMJ Career Investigation found overall that less than 5% of applicants to senior doctor roles from ethnic minority backgrounds were successful in 2012.