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GMC to launch 'very serious' review into complaints against BME doctors


One thing I find NOT clear in the GMC guidance is how to deal with a malingering patient. GMC guidance appears to assume that the ‘customer is always right’. As an example is a patient with an addiction to prescription drugs. When the patient does not get the prescription he/she would typically ask ‘Why can’t you prescribe it when all the other doctors in the surgery can prescribe it?’. This discussion could easily lead to a complaint, and this is a scenario where unintended bias from the doctor and the patient come in to play. In this case a BME doctor is more likely to get a vexatious complaint from a ‘native’ patient. RCGP probably would say something like 'there are some nice tricks during the consultation where you can use to talk the patient out of it nicely'. They would further add 'Oh by the way if you are a BME doctor, you would struggle with that'! Anecdotal but it is striking how the ‘pale male’ GP in my surgery has no complaints last year at all compared to an average of 3 for the BME GPs and 2 for the ‘pale female’ GP. BME doctors may have cultural differences, language difficulties, and this has been highlighted many times by GMC and RCGP as a reason for the disproportionate complaints/rulings against BME doctors. *** But neither GMC nor RCGP have spoken about the possibility of a patient’s unintended bias towards a BME doctor. And the unintended bias of a GMC panel during an investigation involving a BME doctor, is another story! *** Looking into BME doctors' education sounds like 'same old, same old' If I say UKIP voters and Daily Express readers are more likely to complain against a BME doctor, am I wrong? Of course I am a BME doctor and I could be wrong!

Posted date

27 Mar 2018

Posted time