The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership

GMC says BAME treatment is ‘institutional problem’

General Medical Council data and other studies have consistently shown black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors are over-represented when it comes to referrals made to the GMC. In fact, BAME doctors have more than double the rate of being referred by their employer than a white doctor – and non-UK doctors are 2.5 times more likely.

Charlie Massey, GMC chief executive, described the treatment of BAME doctors as an institutional problem and said they are at more risk of being treated as an outsider when things go wrong.

His comments came after new GMC research set out the reasons behind this treatment and made four key recommendations for itself and other NHS organisations to follow in order to make improvements.

The report found that complex and intrinsically linked factors resulted in the disproportionate amount of BAME doctor referrals, and included a lack of support, managers unwilling to have difficult conversations and isolation.

Mr Massey stressed these factors would also be relevant to other BAME professionals and pledged to help tackle this system-wide problem.


Reflecting on Marsden

Six days after HSJ started to break a series of exclusives about NHS England “burying” its concerns over child cancer services, our editor Alastair McLellan and correspondent Ben Clover have added their commentary to the ongoing story.

Last week HSJ revealed that concerns over the model of children’s cancer care in south London – in which the Royal Marsden’s Sutton site is the main and coordinating site – date back almost a decade.

Mr McLellan says: “The idea that children with cancer should not be treated at the Marsden is plainly ridiculous. What is needed is a clear-sighted acknowledgement that a solution must be found, and the trust and wider system – with its London NHSE commissioners – then given time to put it in place.”

Ben Clover, in his London Eye column, writes: ”We may never know what made Simon Stevens think the conflict of interest in appointing the chief executive of the Marsden as head of cancer services for NHS England was acceptable.

“But this column reported in 2016 that the roles of provider boss and a seat in the over-arching body could be problematic for Ms Palmer.

“Minutes of a meeting of the London Cancer Alliance show Ms Palmer objecting to reconfiguration proposals that might have seen her world-famous specialist trust lose urological and head and neck cancer surgery work.”