In the face of “societal upheavals which have convulsed the country in recent times”, British medical journal The BMJ has published a special edition on racism in medicine, examining race and its impact on health for both working doctors and ethnic minority patients.
The special edition tackles issues including racism in medical school and beyond, neglect of ethnic minority groups in research and policy, prejudice in AI, disparities in maternal care, genetic screening, interpreters, the investigation of ethnic minority doctors by regulators, and climate action.
In their editorial, guest editors Victor Adebowale and Mala Rao call for an independent observatory on race equality, health and health care “if we are serious about an NHS free of racism”:
The effects of racism are not confined to ethnic minority patients or the workforce. Race equality matters because it benefits everyone…
Racism is a matter of organisational culture, and culture is a matter of leadership…
Achieving race equality requires leaders with the courage and ability to shift the culture. Their greatest need is for knowledge and evidence to identify the gaps, determine what works, and help orient their organisational structures and cultures towards race equality in relation to the ethnic minority population and workforce. This calls for an observatory—a resource that serves to combine the qualities of academic and state based intelligence gathering, is intuitive in recognising priorities, influential in highlighting issues, and has the clout to guide policy.”
They say the edition “comes as the UK is trying to make sense of the societal upheavals that have convulsed the country in recent times”, with Brexit marking a watershed moment in the nation’s history.
“Anti-immigrant sentiment was found to be a key predictor of the leave vote, with ethnic minorities facing rising and increasingly overt racism since the 2016 referendum,” they write.
“The NHS isn’t immune to these challenges, as the reflections and insights portrayed in this collection of articles confirm.”
We commend the edition, and would love to see some similar reflection here in Australia.
Zosia Kmietowicz discusses what inspired us to make an issue focused on racism and medicine, and how we did it https://t.co/N0Z6KdhJhJ #RacismInMedicine @zosiamk @RaoMala @Voa1234 @NavjoytLadher @rebeccacoombes @Juliet_hd
— The BMJ (@bmj_latest) February 15, 2020