Monday, 21 April 2014

Foreign/ethnic doctors in permanent danger in UK

Recently, British Medical Journal (BMJ) published several articles about foreign doctors' high failure rates in British specialists' exams and their very high presence in the disciplinary proceedings before the General Medical Council (GMC), regulator of medical profession. GMC decides which doctors should have the right to practice medicine in UK as registered doctors. The failure rates in some of the professional exams are just an amazing: fifteen fold difference, for example, in Clinical Skills Assessment as administered by The Royal College of General Practitioners. The research above was funded by GMC and published by the medical trade union, British Medical Association, owners of BMJ. Some of the researchers are of the opinion that foreign men (doctors) should work twice as hard to be likely to pass British specialists' exams. However, in today's Times a doctor, Shaukhat Ali writes that in an experiment 50% of British medical graduates failed PLAB test, the same test that GMC demands non EU doctors pass before being allowed to be registered with them.

Nobody has come forward to admit it is their fault that foreign/ethnic doctors perform so poorly in British exams, or to say they are responsible for so many foreign doctors being subjected to disciplinary procedures leading to sanctions on their practice. 75% of those erased from UK's medical register are from ethnic minorities.

So, what is the solution to these problems?

It appears to the author of this article that one should take a lesson from the Chinese students in Hong Kong. Firstly, they got rid of the British rule and then, over 70% employed private tutors. Now Hong Kong students have the first place in the world in mathematics, science and reading.

While some foreign doctors do see reality in UK promptly and flee to the better countries, others take a long time to realize that they will never win through the British courts, even if they try. It is not enough to be clever, to have evidence, good lawyers and money. Judges in the UK courts have commitment to denying that there is racial/ethnic discrimination. It is as if in their minds the preservation of the medical institutions' reputation is paramount.

The General Medical Council do their best to keep poor records of doctors' ethnicity. The so called independent information regulator and courts collude with them. The mortality rate in those facing disciplinary procedures before GMC in twenty times higher than that of the normal British working age population. It is as if specific targeting of some doctors has occurred. There is evidence in policy making that indeed, this is the case. We are aware that some unlawful targeting has occurred.

The government must have public interest at heart and supply adequate numbers of doctors whatever their nationality, but medical profession works against it in order to decrease the supply of doctors and increase the price of their own services. In other countries in Europe one can get better private medical care and at a lower cost. It is not a secret. One of the principles of European Treaty is to increase competition in order to increase prosperity of the citizens but this is not what the UK medical regulator wants. Like those who write poisonous letters of complaints against foreign doctors to GMC they want conformity, not excellence. Even when evidence is sent to GMC showing that patients are dying and will continue to die because of some poor UK practise GMC would insist for decades that a foreign doctor is guilty of serious professional misconduct in order to deflect the responsibility from those really culpable. International scientific community may regard a doctor to be impressive but GMC would stick to their guns that doctor's innovative thinking is nothing more than serious professional misconduct. GMC is a body with no moral conscience. You will not hear their executives pleading before Parliament to allow them to correct their mistakes when they punish the wrong doctor and allow the local medical mobbing gangs to escape.

One of the expressed interests of GMC is education but they, actually, actively work against the education of foreign doctors. A good example of that is the ethnic doctor who trained in UK as a medical doctor but whom they convicted of serious professional misconduct because she wanted better administration of how status of educational supervisors was regulated. The Royal College of Psychiatrists would not issue certificates to Educational Supervisors in order to prevent foreign doctors teaching (even when the same foreign doctor had the status of educational supervisor before when in permanent NHS consultant post). In a fury, GMC convicted doctor to be supervised herself for over 4 years and then struck her off the medical register for refusing to comply with their wicked demands.

This doctor learned only when she became NHS Consultant that she is meant to give one hour per week of supervision to her junior doctor on one to one basis. She never had it in six years of her training. What is happening in UK is very easy to explain: NHS Trusts get the money from the government to train junior doctors. This training should include one hour of personal supervision (teaching by Consultant, not based on patients under their care already) per week. Clinical supervision of juniors occurs in ward rounds, and multidisciplinary meetings in addition.

So, unlike the Chinese in Hong Kong who got personal private tutors, foreigners/ethnic doctors in UK are undereducated when it comes to the specialists exams.

The additional factors may be present too, such as discrimination in oral exams when examiners actually see and hear the foreign doctor. All of these exams should be recorded and the copies given to those being examined. Why not if there is nothing to hide?

Suffering from oppression can lead to anxiety and depression and poor performance not just in IQ tests but in medical exams. Poor motivation can lead to poor remembering. How motivated can one be when anticipating that one would be trashed?


Anonymous said...


what a lovely article D4J has written.

I have recently read your submission to HSC as follows, its interesting too,

Anonymous said...

I think BAPIO should carefully read between the lines in an impressive article written by Doctors4Justice, before appealing as it may be just a wastage of time when the outcome is predetermined. People are not able to talk openly due to the fear of contempt of court but it is an established fact that after this court ruling, there have been concerns on the transparency of conducting a discrimination case. This may lead to lack of trust in the UK justice system and more polarization and racial tension in an already fragile and fragmented British society.