A survey has found that white British Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) holders are more likely to get shortlisted and offered NHS consultant positions than black or minority ethnic (BME) CCT holders, despite applying for fewer roles.

The ninth annual survey of the experiences and outcomes for CCT holders within one year of gaining their CCT was published by Royal College of Physicians and its sister organisations, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

This survey comes after a collaboration with the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB), which establishes standards for UK medical training on behalf of the three colleges.

In total, 935 CCT holders were contacted in August 2017, but 487 doctors only completed responses (52%) across the UK.

It was found that doctors of white British ethnicity applied for an average of 1.29 consultant posts before being appointed, while medics from a BME background applied for 1.66 posts before finding success.

Of the white British doctors, 80% were shortlisted compared to 66% of those from other ethnic groups. While 77% of white medics were successful in getting their first role as a consultant compared to only 57% of those from all other ethnic groups.

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In addition, the survey found that female BME doctors also seem to have a particular disadvantage when applying for posts.


According to the survey, representatives on advisory appointment committees (AACs) have to receive equality and diversity training, including awareness of unconscious bias, and hospitals have to be encouraged to ensure their representatives receive similar training.

RCP president Professor Andrew Goddard said: “These findings are a clear warning signal that we need to investigate further and take immediate action. It is imperative that we do everything we can to make sure the appointment of consultants is based solely on ability.

“Our concern is to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to reach their potential, and the best doctors are appointed to the right jobs. We believe that will lead to a much more diverse workforce that reflects the community it serves. We look forward to working with NHS organisations, the GMC, other royal colleges and representative bodies such as the BMA to that end.”

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: “This report further restates the urgent need to address racial and gender inequality in the NHS. The challenges identified by physicians are shared by many of our other staff groups, and reinforce the vital work underway across the NHS to ensure that all the people working in our teams can bring the best of themselves to work every day to benefit our patients.”

NHS Improvement executive medical director and chief operating officer Dr Kathy McLean said: Building a diverse workforce is key to the NHS delivering an inclusive health service and improving care for patients. NHS trusts should ensure their recruitment promotes diversity, equality and inclusiveness at all levels.

“To support this, we have created a new chief people officer role for the NHS and we will be working more closely with Health Education England to improve leadership development and people management across the service.”