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GMC aims ethnicity census at overseas doctors

By Gareth Iacobucci

The GMC has announced plans to begin the second phase of its ethnicity census.

The survey, billed by the GMC as an analysis of why ethnic minority doctors are subject to higher-than-average numbers of complaints, sparked a row when initially announced last year, after some GPs complained that it may be used for positive discrimination in fitness-to-practise cases.

However, the GMC claimed it had had a positive response to the first stage of the initiative, revealing that it had 72% of ethnicity data for practising doctors in the UK.

After initially sending out letters to 120,000 doctors, the Council said it would now focus on obtaining data from 27,000 doctors living or working overseas.

The GMC has admitted that the project, which has been backed strongly by the BMA and the medical royal colleges, is a ‘sensitive' task, but believes it to be necessary, with no single organisation currently holding accurate ethnicity data about the UK's 240,000 doctors.

In order to collect the remaining data, the GMC said it had set up a secure online survey facility to make the task ‘easier and more efficient'.

Sir Graeme Catto, president of the General Medical Council, said, ‘We are delighted with the response to the ethnicity census so far. We are committed to completing the picture of all doctors on the UK register, in order to fulfil our responsibilities as the regulator of a trusted and diverse profession.

‘We are asking for help from those remaining doctors who have yet to submit their data to enable us to do just that.'

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