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GMC commits to equality and diversity training for staff to reduce bias

GMC commits to equality and diversity training for staff to reduce bias

The GMC has committed to increasing awareness of bias and improving equality, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) training as part of an internal review of its decision-making processes. 

The review, which was published today and includes 23 recommendations, follows the organisation’s apology last year for its mistakes in the case of Dr Manjula Arora.

The recommendations cover five main areas, including:

  • The GMC’s approach to auditing the fairness of its work, which will be more consistent and
    will involve seeking more external feedback.
  • Introducing a single set of decision-making principles to increase consistency across the
  • Tailoring equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) training for GMC staff across different roles.
    Publishing more detailed data about GMC fitness-to-practise processes.
  • Making sure fairness and ED&I are embedded into the way the GMC operates in future,
    when the Department of Health and Social Care introduces a new regulatory framework for
    healthcare professionals.

The recommendations are based on the direct participation of 40 members of staff, with 900 more members forming the evidence base, and include increasing transparency, particularly on fitness-to-practise (FtP) data, and seeking external feedback in its audit processes.

Part of the work of the regulatory fairness review centred on having open conversations about bias since it was clear that staff ‘felt uncomfortable discussing how bias might impact their work’.

An external review published in October 2022, carried out by consultancy firm Howlett Brown, recommended the GMC seek more external audits of its decision-making processes.

These recommendations were incorporated into the internal review, which stated an aim to ‘develop a more structured and transparent approach to commissioning external audits’. 

The review also identified 220 members of staff who last completed ED&I training before the Equality Act 2010, and addressing this training gap was flagged as ‘an immediate priority’. 

While the review was organisation-wide, implementation of the recommendations focus on high-stakes decisions as they are more likely to directly impact on registrants, patients and the public. 

Laura Harding, the report’s author, said: ‘All of us in an organisation such as the GMC make decisions, and no matter how big or small they are they each have an impact. Managing the risk of bias in those decisions is vital, and will result in fairer decisions for everyone who interacts with the GMC.’ 

In November 2022, a separate independent review found that the accusations against Dr Manjula Arora around the ‘promise’ of a laptop should never have reached the GMC

Ms Harding’s internal review report acknowledged the importance of this case as it raised ‘the profile internally of the nuances of bias and how it impacts decision making’. 

Some of the 23 recommendations are already being implemented and many have deadlines for completion this year.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: ‘A degree of bias is inherent in human nature, and so a fundamental principle of our approach is to look for the risk of bias and to assess the controls we have in place to manage it. The recommendations in this report are key to that.’



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

David Jarvis 15 February, 2023 9:20 am

Self awareness is one part but how do they deal with racist complainants? I often feel that complaints against my colleagues are coloured by racism within the patients. Go figure that one out GMC. I also feel that we all have some innate racism in that functioning outside your cultural upbringing takes more effort than staying in your lane. This requires effort on all of us to overcome this. So rejecting complaints with a clear message why would be a start.

Truth Finder 15 February, 2023 9:42 am

The GMC is biased, inherently racist and unfair. Using non professionals or people not actually doing the job to judge practising clinicians under the current practice climate and staffing shortage. All not taken into consideration.
Hadiza Bawa-Garba-we have not forgotten how she was treated too. The organization as it stands now is unfit for purpose and has lost the profession’s confidence.

A Non 15 February, 2023 3:15 pm

There’s more to “equality diversity and inclusion (ED&I)” than racism/sexism and a whole heap of ever expanding special interest groups forever on the look out to hijack your bandwagon. Fix the stuff that needs to be fixed, please do, but don’t leave the back door open to the wild eyed wolves dressed up as sheep.

Anonymous 15 February, 2023 8:46 pm

Tell this to the receptionists and all band 2 hcas with missing teeth who always throw some racists remarks about the accent.

Tell this to the management who gladly promote white British incompetence over hardworking colleagues from minority backgrounds.

Finally, tell this to the GMC prosecuting over promised laptops.

Decorum Est 15 February, 2023 10:17 pm

Fxck-off GMC. You’re a disgrace to the medical profession. If you were a person, you would be ‘Sectioned’ as a ‘dangerous delusional narcissist’.
You don’t need reforming! Disbanding and nothing else!

Slobber Dog 15 February, 2023 10:36 pm

Bit late chaps.

S. Ali 18 February, 2023 9:53 pm

Begrudging actions of the GMC, they have known for decades and recruitment has been geared-up for this. The GMC still does not propose to STOP discrimination but instead the report appears about better ways to hide it. No confidence in the GMC.

Legacies of its staff past and current, have left this wayward organisation increasingly unfit for purpose.

It it not a question of a lack of insight but the spiteful actions due to the insight. As I have written in several court submissions, the GMC fixation on a certain prolific doctor has changed the organisation to better protect such bad doctors.