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An unequal race: How BME GPs face tougher hurdles


I think for each time a GP has to payout for litigation (albeit often not an error, but settled because that is cheaper than contesting the claim) there have been many other (maybe 10) cases where a GP could have been litigated against and that has not been persued. The main way of preventing lots of payouts is to stop claims before they reach a lawyers desk. The problem is that I think the public are much more likely to take that step of contacting a lawyer for a BME doctor, than they are for a white doctor. Similarly at a lower level I think patients are much more likely to complain to a hospital trust or practice manager with a BME doctor compared to white doctor. If I am correct about that I am not sure how it is ever going to be possible to balance out the unfairness. If you were completely blue sky thinking you could ask for: White doctors who are litigated against pay an extra penalty which goes in to a fund which helps cover the expenses of BME doctors who are litigated against. Or white doctors have an extra insurance premium to reduce the cost associated with extra claims against BME doctors. (As it is okay to charge more for extra claims but not charge more ethnicity, even if there is a link between ethnicity and the likelihood of a dispute becoming a claim. Then as for regulation BME doctors would need more leniency in GMC cases or employers investigations. Perhaps 2 lives for gross errors and an extra couple of lives for more minor errors when compared to white doctors. Remember this does NOT represent them being less good, just representing the fact that a White doctor making the same number of errors would have faced 'half' the number of reports/ claims or investigations. Clearly more research is needed to clarify the numbers involved. I am sure we can all agree that both ideas are ridiculous. But if anyone has a reasonable way of balancing out the inequality from patients, then it would be nice to hear it.

Posted date

04 May 2018

Posted time