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Independents' Day

CQC to meet BME doctor representatives amid allegations of 'unconscious bias'

EXCLUSIVE The CQC will meet with the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) before Christmas to discuss concerns over inspector bias against BME single-handed GPs, Pulse has learned.

BAPIO said it had been contacted by 'extremely worried' members regarding ‘heavy-handed’ CQC inspectors turning up with ‘pre-conceived ideas’ to single-handed GP practices led by BME doctors.

The CQC has denied allegations that inspections are discriminatory against practices of a certain size or those led by BME doctors. It did admit that single-handed practices in general were more likely to be rated inadequate but referred to its annual State of Care report finding that this was because they 'are more likely to work in professional isolation, resulting in a lack of communication and engagement with staff and patients, and an environment that is not open and transparent'.

But BAPIO president Dr Ramesh Mehta told Pulse: ‘BAPIO is concerned about the way CQC inspectors are treating single-handed GP practices.

‘Since the inception of the NHS, international medical graduates have worked in inner-city areas and distant places where no local graduate wanted to go…

‘[However] extremely worried members have been contacting BAPIO as the news of heavy-handed CQC inspections is spreading fast.’

He claimed that the CQC acts like ‘Big Brother’ by turning up and ‘demanding facilities and standards without ensuring that the required support is provided’.

He said: ‘CQC inspectors visiting single-handed BME practices already have pre-conceived ideas, an unconscious bias. BAPIO believes the treatment of these doctors is much harsher than others…

‘Of course BAPIO believes in quality care and quality facilities in the surgeries. However, instead of punishing these GPs, the CQC should be looking into providing support.’

But the CQC's chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field, who will meet with the group on 22 December, stressed that the commission was ‘committed to equality and diversity and will not tolerate discrimination in any form’.

He said: ‘I have heard BAPIO’s concerns about single-handed practices.

‘It is true that more small and single-handed practices appear in our list of practices rated inadequate. However [these] also appear in our list of practices rated outstanding.

‘The problem is not the size of the practice but the professional isolation of the GP. Inadequate practices also appear to have no or fewer nurses than those rated outstanding.

‘We are meeting BAPIO to listen further to their concerns.’

The concerns follow last year's row between BAPIO and the RCGP about the differences in exit exam failure rates between UK graduates and international medical graduates.

After having been cleared of any wrongdoing in a judicial review, the RCGP undertook a wide-ranging review into its diversity policies and, earlier this year, figures revealed that the gap between white UK and other graduates taking the exam was narrowing.


Readers' comments (17)

  • Thank you Bapio. This will go the way of the RCGP exam fiasco. But at least you are giving a voice to the single handers who have worked for decades where no else would go any where near these area, so that patients get some care. It is very difficult to provide provide "high quality, compasionte care" without the availability of any GPs to do it! well done.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Happy Christmas, Master Yoda.
    My feeling is the political atmosphere is different from the time of JR against the college. It was then , this is now. Fascinated to learn what will be said this meeting....

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  • Perhaps the GMC could also meet the BAPIO to discuss and possibly ascertain why BME doctors are far more likley to undergo FTP hearings and receive punitive sanctions and be struck off etc compared to their non BME professional colleagues??

    Ive always wondered why after many many years of problems, this one has never been dealt with????

    We live in the 21st century, we have a black man as president of the wealthiest nation on the planet, we have BME CEOs of companies like GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, PEPSI as well as an NRI surgeon general of the Usa and yet in the UK it seems colour/ creed/ race/ religion are still factors that create the infamous glass ceiling..........

    It needs to be dealt with because the standing of the UK is rapidly diminishing in the eyes of international doctors...... is the UK Plc really open for business or is it still a closed shop?????

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  • It should be made more transparent & accountable & remedial process. Singlehanded doctors are giving very good service in difficult areas. They need our support

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  • What gets my goat is that the CQC has one yard stick for all. They try and measure the immeasurable and simplify uber-complexity. They are sloppy, bias, burnt-out and bitter failed pseudo-GPs with a bone to pick. A "bad" GP in a deprived area is better than NO GP at all. No one disagrees that not all GPs and not all surgeries are up to scratch but please...if the fence is propped up with an old bush DO NOT cut it down.

    I feel better no....oh, more.. F U CQC.

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  • Actually it is a miracle that there are any single handed gps left with the almost daily extra sewage continuing to be piled on GP practices?
    Out of everyone they would probably count as the most resilient gps of all times!
    Perhaps it is because they are an easier target for the bully boys at CQC to victimise and kick as they have less back up from their immediate peers?
    Still cannot believe GPs have to pay for the CQC 'inspections'????

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  • @ Anonymous | Other healthcare professional11 Dec 2015 2:42pm

    'Still cannot believe GPs have to pay for the CQC 'inspections'???? '

    We also pay for the GMC to ruin our lives if an A-hole points a finger.

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  • I haven't complained against CQC till now but there was this moment when I asked the Inspector to repeat what the shortcomings were so I could make a note. This was after he said the Practice was unsafe.
    I was absolutely gob-smacked when he responded arrogantly ' I'm not going to repeat myself'
    Well, I though to myself, just another Nurse who wishes to thrash a GP and tried to avoid him for the rest of the inspection. Wonder whether he would have behaved the same with a fellow white British doctor. Looking at the conditions of work and Contracts, it is a pity we don't get a look into each other's global sums per patient as I can bet there is a vast difference even today how much the payments differ per patient.
    As a member and former trainee of BME Clinical Leadership Programme, I am glad we have some brilliant people heading the organisation who now have a representation in the GMC too. Sometimes, it's a feeling like you are the Gurkha regiment which made sacrifices for decades only now to be given some parity in this country.

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  • I don't think there is any bias against the non white docs.The political policy is to shut down/federate all single handed practices.It so happens that alot of these surgeries are run by IMGs often in run down areas of town which the white natives avoid.So not surprising that this gives an impression of bias.

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  • totally agree with above.the mega mini hospital practices are what is wanted and what some GP partners who were not so long ago declaring themselves socialist and against them,the are raking in the financial benefits now -regardless of the fact that many of the population prefer a small practice where a relationship with a known practitioner is possible and where the practice is not using them to play politics

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