RCGP response to Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report

Responding to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"The suggestion in this report, that structural racism is not embedded within UK society, does not tally with the experiences of many members from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities who have reached out to the College over the last year.

“It is clear that racism is overt in many sectors of society, including in health. We know that across the NHS staff from ethnic minorities report having worse experiences than white colleagues. We know that where health inequalities exist in society, they disproportionately affect patients from ethnic minority communities. We know that during the pandemic, those from ethnic minority communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 – and that vaccination uptake among these communities, particularly black communities, is lower than the national average.

“There are some encouraging recommendations made in the report – but in our opinion they do not go far enough. We specifically welcome the call for a review into the Care Quality Commission inspection process, which echoes our own call for the CQC to take measures to look at the impact of its inspections on GPs from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. But such a review must be independent, and it must listen to the voice of professionals working on the front line with experience of being inspected by the CQC.

“We also welcome the commitment to tackling health inequalities. This will involve addressing the wider determinants of health across society and require a Government-wide approach. But it will also require significant investment, both into research into the underlying causes of health inequalities, which are likely multi-factorial, and into radical initiatives to address them.

“It is vital where incidences of racism happen, that they are identified, taken seriously and addressed. We all have a responsibility to identify and challenge discrimination within our own structures – and we need to re-double our efforts to bring about change. Discrimination, disempowerment and lack of confidence in our institutions remain real factors, and it is important that we are not complacent about these, but work with those affected to challenge ourselves and the organisations of which we are part.”

Further information

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RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659 

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.