Research commissioned by the GMC found several factors, including those relating to the working environment such as poor induction and support, difficult working patterns and lack of feedback from managers which alone or in combination could explain the disparity. This effect can be compounded where organisations focus on blaming individuals when something goes wrong, rather than trying to identify the cause and learn from the incident.
Responding to the report, Medical Defence Union (MDU) head of advisory services, Dr Caroline Fryar commented:
'The MDU welcomes the recommendations of the Fair to Refer report to which we contributed. When supporting BAME members, the difficulties some have encountered informed our view that there must be better induction support and follow up. Equally, while there are trusts who do it well, it seems that too many still approach investigations with a view to singling out a doctor to blame, rather than trying to find out exactly what went wrong so they can put it right and it won't happen again.
'It's the wrong approach to take the view that a doctor must be individually at fault when an incident happens. There are almost always mitigating systemic factors which contribute to an error such as lack of induction, training concerns and suboptimal staffing levels.
'We look forward to working with the GMC and other organisations to take forward the report's recommendations. It is reassuring to see that delivery of the initiatives outlined will be measured and evaluated. We must see appreciable and positive change.'
This guidance was correct at publication 25/06/2019. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.