UK medical schools are failing to deal with racism, finds BMJ investigation


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Professional News
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Medical schools in the UK are unprepared to deal with the racism and racial harassment experienced by black and ethnic minority students, an investigation by the BMJ has found.

The BMJ sent freedom of information requests to the UK’s 40 public undergraduate medical schools. Of the 32 that responded, only half (16) collect data on complaints from students about racism and racial harassment. And since 2010 they’ve recorded just 11 complaints. This number is lower than that documented by UK universities in general.

The figures were described as “sad and shocking” and show that some universities are “oblivious to the issue” of racism, according to the BMJ.

Commenting on the figures, Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA council, said such behaviour “damages self-esteem and confidence, affects learning, and contributes to the ethnic attainment gap that emerges through medical education and training”.

Dr Nagpaul said that medical schools need to take ownership of the current situation. “Medical students are the future of the profession. They need to know that they can expect an inclusive and safe environment at medical school and on work placements.”