Last reviewed 8 June 2021

Local Medical Committee (LMC) leaders have called on the Government to step up the fight against racism experienced by GPs and their staff, saying daily examples of this form of racism should be identified and publicised by Government ministers.

Last month, the UK LMCs conference urged health ministers to “publicly and repeatedly” tell patients they cannot decline care based on a clinician’s ethnicity.

The motion, which was carried unanimously, also called on ministers to “commit to a zero tolerance approach” to patient complaints about being challenged over racism, as GPs said they should be able to remove abusive patients from their practices without fear of a resulting patient complaint leading to repercussions for staff.

GPs called for more support from regulators, who they said tended to take a “patient is always right” attitude.

The motion called on health ministers across the UK to: 

  • publicly and repeatedly deliver the message that no patient is entitled to refuse care based on a clinician’s ethnicity

  • identify and publicise the daily examples of racism that NHS colleagues are subjected to

  • commit to a zero-tolerance approach to any patient complaints that arise from challenging racism.

Hull and East Yorkshire LMC put forward the motion. The committee is part of Humberside LMC, which published a report, Racism and Discrimination – The Experience of Primary Care Professionals in the Humberside Region, that found more than half of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) primary care staff have experienced racism at work, available here.

This report was based on a racism survey across primary care workers launched on 17 December 2020. This survey provides a limited but significant insight into the lived experiences of those working in all roles across primary care in the Humberside region. It makes recommendations, including to read a short article on becoming anti-racist by Dr Louise Taylor of Oxford Brookes University: How Can We Become Anti-racist? A Guide, here.