Equality and Diversity

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of CouncilFairness and equality for all are core values that I hold dear and that all of us at the Royal College of General Practitioners, take very seriously.

We have a diverse  and dynamic workforce and membership – and we constantly strive to make the RCGP an organization that promotes equal and fair opportunities for all.

As a demonstration of our commitment to encouraging an inclusive culture the RCGP has a well-established programme of work developing areas of equality and diversity and good relationships with stakeholder organizations which feed into this.

From our policies and procedures to the training and development opportunities we offer, we want to see everyone reach their full potential.

If you have examples of best practice you can share or would like to bring your expertise to our work, please get in touch.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of Council, Royal College of General Practitioners.

RCGP Equality and Diversity statement

The Royal College of General Practitioners is committed to enhancing and promoting equal opportunities; encouraging equality and diversity in employment, membership, representation on College Committees and in the profile of its College leads; and complying with all relevant equality legislation in relation to its public functions.

In so doing, we aim to ensure equality and fairness for all employees, members, trainees, committee members, and any other groups the College relates to in pursuance of its public functions, and not unlawfully to discriminate (directly or indirectly) on the basis of protected characteristics .

In exercising its employment practices and public functions, the College welcomes its duty towards those individuals sharing one or more of the protected characteristics.

The RCGP is committed to providing an environment that welcomes and promotes dignity and respect to all employees, members, candidates, assessors and examiners and will not tolerate any form of unlawful discrimination, intimidation, bullying or harassment.

Our aims

  • To be an inclusive organisation where diversity is respected and encouraged
  • To promote a culture that actively values diversity and recognises the value of each individual.

Our commitment

  • To treat all existing and potential employees, members, committee members and trainees fairly and considerately and to advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • To recruit and retain staff, members and College representatives aiming for fair representation of all sections of society by encouraging a wider diversity of people to work for the College, to become members of the College, to represent the College and to join College working groups/committees.
  • To create an environment that is free of bullying, harassment and unlawful discrimination.
  • To foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • To comply with relevant equality legislation including the Equality Act 2010 and its Public Sector Equality Duties (PSED) for all sectors of the RCGP that are public facing.
  • To ensure, as far as possible, that the principle of equality and diversity is observed in the provision of College services and in performing our public functions and statutory duties.
  • To raise awareness of equality and diversity issues and promote best practice throughout the College. 
  • To ensure regular training in Equality and Diversity and the College's PSED for all sectors of the RCGP that are public facing.
  • To review all College policies and processes to ensure fairness and equity.
  • To take measures to remove or minimise disadvantage experienced by individuals due to their protected characteristics. 
  • To monitor and evaluate this statement regularly to ensure that it continues to be implemented effectively and updated as required to ensure its continued relevance.

The RCGP is highly committed to ensuring that equality and diversity underpins all of the work we do on behalf of family doctors in the UK to promote excellence in primary healthcare. We have made it our priority to review our core responsibilities and all of our policies, as well as renew our focus on encouraging more involvement from younger members and people from diverse backgrounds.

The College is now embarking on a new programme of work to address areas where Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) applies, including the MRCGP, curriculum and other routes to achieving a licence to practise or specialist certificates.

It is important to acknowledge that the primary objective of the MRCGP is safe patient care. We will continue to work to ensure that high standards of care are met while continuing to be exemplars of good practice on equality and diversity issues.

Working with others

The RCGP has set up a new Equality and Diversity Steering Group led by Chief Operating Officer, Valerie Vaughan-Dick, and championed by RCGP Chair, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, to address all new reviews and actions related to Equality and Diversity.

In addition, an Equality and Diversity Advisory Group was established with representation from key stakeholders and diversity-focused organisations, such as the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and Stonewall, to enable the College to draw on external experience and best practice.

We have now finalised an action plan to take forward the work to review the College's PSED and Equality and Diversity responsibilities and most effective policies and systems that applies to all  areas of our work. These plans have been discussed with key stakeholders, who have also contributed new ideas.

The College is already working closely with BAPIO and the British International Doctors Association (BIDA) to support the small number of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who need better quality training and acclimatisation to the UK culture and NHS in order to pass the MRCGP exam. It also works closely with COGPED, LETBs/Deaneries, BMA, GMC, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and other key stakeholders to share good practice and innovation on Equality and Diversity areas.

Respecting diversity

We will also now be collecting and monitoring protected characteristic data on members, committee members, trainees, examiners and staff in order to review and enhance the diversity of representation. Anonymised summaries of this data will be regularly reviewed by RCGP Council.

The College will also be extending the monitoring of examination candidate performance in relation to all protected characteristics including race, religion, age or sexual orientation.

This new focus on protected characteristic monitoring will greatly assist the College's drive to encourage more involvement from younger members and people from diverse backgrounds. Currently more than half of College members are under 40, 56% are female and 30% have stated that they are from a Black Asian and Minority Ethnic background.

We are confident this work will not only benefit our members and staff, it will also have a positive impact on patient care and the services we deliver in frontline general practice.

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