NHS staff face a double whammy of increasing racist attacks and discrimination at work with chief executives failing to crack down on abuse of staff, doctors are warning.
A spate of attacks in recent months has led to calls from health professionals for trust leaders and the Care Quality Commission to do more.
A major report on racism in the NHS by the British Medical Association (BMA), to be published this month, is expected to confirm ethnic minority staff facing “debilitating” levels of racism.
Now the Doctors’ Association UK, is warning of a rise in racist attacks “in accordance with what is happening nationally”.
Dr Yasotha Browne, diversity lead at the grassroots lobbying organisation, said: “The reasons will be multi-fold, but certainly in environments where racism is not taken seriously it will be very difficult for staff to feel that they will be supported when they have concerns or are a target.”
Last week, Dr Aman Amir spoke out about “heartbreaking” arson and racist graffiti attacks suffered by his practice in Knowsley, Merseyside.
The GP, who recently took over Roby Medical Centre, said “everything we’ve invested is undone” after a fire in the early hours of the morning caused extensive damage.
Just days before the arson attack, racist graffiti was sprayed on the front and side of the practice with the words “P***” and “paedo” scrawled on the white walls, Dr Amir said. “It’s very difficult because I’m the only person of colour in my organisation. Of course, I’ve grown up in the UK and unfortunately, I have at times faced racial stuff, but very rarely in my professional life,” he said.
Dr Browne, from Doctors’ Association UK, went further – telling ithat a white doctor in the same position would never have been treated the same way.
She said: “Dr Arora’s case has alarmed the profession. Many are conveying a feeling that this would not happen to a rich well connected – in other words ‘respected’ – white male doctor. Cases like this and disparities in treatment and fairness can be a damaging deterrent to those who may otherwise speak up or ally.”
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