Doctors accused of “institutional racism”
- By: Siân Knight
A governmental inquiry into working practices has criticised doctors for “institutional racism.” Produced by an all-party Social Security Select Committee, the report contained evidence that people from ethnic minorities are subject to discrimination during medical consultations.
The report examined the work of the Medical Service and its Examining Medical Practitioners, the doctors who examine claimants for the Government Benefits Agency. It follows a recent admission from Mike O'Brien, a Home Office minister, that his department is “institutionally racist”.
One doctor expected the eight-year old son of a patient to interpret during the consultation. In a separate case, another doctor refused to remove his shoes upon entering the prayer room of an Asian patient, resulting in the consultation having to take place in the hallway. The report also cites several examples of crude stereotyping: one doctor made allusions to an Irish claimant's alleged alcoholism without having any evidence that the patient