GMC announces new measures to combat inequality

New targets have been set by the General Medical Council (GMC) following a disproportionate number of complaints from employers about ethnic minority doctors than other doctors. The targets have been set to be reached by 2026, and 2031.  

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: “Sadly it is clear that unacceptable levels of inequality exist in the health system. Change is needed to eradicate the disadvantages many doctors face is long overdue. 

“Setting ourselves these specific targets will drive us to effect real change, which we can hold ourselves to account for. It will require close working with employers, regulators, education and training bodies, and many other stakeholders to achieve these goals. 

“Our goals are ambitious but achievable – inequality is something we need to be impatient about. We are committed to deliver change and achieve these much needed improvements.’ 

The announcement from GMC highlighted that throughout education and training, the exam pass rate is 12 percent higher for white students than it is for ethnic minority students. It also states that doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds are twice as likely to be referred to the GMC compared to white colleagues.  

The targets outline plans including:

  • Working with Responsible Officers to explore and develop plans they have to make workplaces more inclusive and supportive. 
  • Developing an amended referral form to include steps organisations have taken to make sure that a referral is appropriate before it is submitted to the GMC. 
  • Supporting organisations in building understanding of GMC thresholds for fitness to practise referrals to help ensure fairer outcomes. 
  • Support the Medical Schools Council’s newly formed ED&I Alliance and requiring action plans from education and training bodies ensure diversity is better reflected in all aspects of medical teaching and learning. 
  • Use the GMC’s national training survey to further understand inclusivity and fairness – information which will be used with other insights about doctors’ working environments to help target quality assurance activity around identified points of concern. 

GMC will implement a greater focus on internal processes that will be applied to increase representation across staffing levels, and will also tackle unequal disparity in pay.  

Progress of the initiative will be reported on and published by the GMC on an annual basis.