Thursday, 12 December 2013

Overcoming Racial/Ethnic and Complainant Status Discrimination with anonymized complaints

It is not known for how long people have discriminated unfairly on the basis of names alone (?thousands of years). What is known is that, for example, exams, when taken anonymously (with number as the means of identification of person taking exam) eliminate some forms of discrimination and would do so particularly in multiple choice type exams when one has to tick box for correct answer.

Medical profession is fully aware of how to avoid racial/ethnic discrimination in regulatory process. All doctors have taken more exams than they can remember in which their names were anonymized. So why do they not apply it to medical regulation? It is known that most of the doctors struck off the medical register are those of ethnic minority. Complaints against doctors made to GMC are not anonymized and neither are the complainants. So, unfair discrimination against both doctors and complainants occurs every day.

The General Medical Council (GMC) regulator of medical profession in UK employs Professor Aneez Esmail and Dr Sam Everington. Many years ago, these two doctors performed research in which they created false doctor's curriculum vitae (cv) and made two sets of  copies differing in that one set had an English name and the other one Asian. They sent these CVs in response to the job advertisements in the National Health Service. CVs with Asian names had disproportionately smaller chance of being shortlisted.

The research findings by Professor Aneez Esmail and Dr Sam Everington have not been implemented to change the regulatory process. Many lives would have been lost because there is a shortage of doctors and particularly so in unpopular specialties. When good doctors are removed from practice people do die. It would appear that the priority in medical regulation is not public interest but self-interest such as keeping the numbers of doctors down and the price of the product high (demand and supply economics).

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