Having just been through the rollercoaster of the past couple of weeks, with the unjust death of George Floyd, we wanted to take a moment to reflect.
The medical world is an interesting area in terms of race. Doctors, nurses and medical specialists all go the extra mile to help people. It is a part of our DNA so to speak. Race, colour and religious belief should not come into the equation. There are doctors, nurses, consultants and other medical workers of all religions, all colours and all beliefs – there is no room for racism.
Yet, we still live in a medical world where racial injustice is present. What happened in the USA, unfortunately reminds us that racism is still very much a reality and we must help to quash it, not just in medicine but everywhere.
Racism in medicine is a harsh reality. Did you know that there is a noticeable pay gap between black and white doctors? On average, for every £1 a black female doctor earns, her white counterpart earns another £0.19 and a white consultant will earn 4.9% more than a black colleague of the same standard of education. This is plain and simple discrimination and must be further challenged.
Another notable discrepancy is the number of BAME NHS Trust Board Members. Only 8.4% are from a BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic groups) background yet 13% of NHS staff are BAME. Even that figure is low, and we would like to see it grow, especially as BAME are more at risk of dying from COVID-19 with the figures standing at 4.3 times more females and 4.2 times more males.
We believe that the more diversity there is in the NHS, the more people will trust in their doctors and nurses. None of the above will change until the countless reports of bullying, criticism, intimidating behaviour and verbal abuse in the NHS, a place designed for everyone, are challenged further. Added to that, there have been numerous complaints of medical school places not being distributed equally.
Medify’s mission statement is plain and simple; democratise healthcare education. Unfortunately, the system is still flawed and racism is still prevalent.
The majority of Medify’s board members are BAME and we are proud of the diversity that we promote and support. As a team of practising doctors and academics, we have also faced racism and abuse while working on the frontlines. As medical students, many of us experienced racism while studying at our medical schools.
To that end, Medify deplores any form of racism and all that it entails and in accordance with this we fully support the BLM movement. We will continue to fight against racism in society and in medicine and want to share our values with you.
Ethnic diversity enriches our culture, inspires creativity and fuels innovation. While we live in a free, democratic nation where diversity and inclusion is actively promoted, unfortunately, racism in the UK is undermining our humanitarian values and weakening social cohesion.
Let’s fight against racism together. We want to enact meaningful change at the highest levels as well as at the grassroots. It starts with people like you, who are keen to engage and keen to change the status quo. You will face many barriers in life, but how you face them and how you surmount them will make the person that you aspire to be.
We recommend that you visit melaninmedics.com as it outlines a number of actions that you can take. This includes signing petitions, donating/fundraising, being informed and being vocal.
When doctors and nurses hear the words “I can’t breathe” they act – they try to help, the aim is always to save a life. That’s what is done in medicine. What happened to George Floyd has floored the team at Medify.
Black lives matter, every life matters, regardless of race, colour or religious belief. We stand with the BLM Movement and we will do everything in our power to eradicate racism. It is one thing to stand by BLM but it is another thing to take action towards it - will you?