1. BME doctor wins a landmark case against the GMC

On 16 June 2021 a BME doctor, Mr. Omer Karim, won a landmark case for discrimination on the grounds of his race, against the GMC. In the press release that followed Mr. Karim states:

“I sincerely hope this judgment helps all doctors and the families of those who are unfairly referred to the regulator. I believe the GMC has a callous disregard for the truth and honesty. The GMC knew that I was a whistleblower yet, the GMC falsely constructed a case to only include evidence that helped their agenda to prosecute me. Right from the outset, the GMC saw me as a guilty black doctor and withheld evidence that could have proven my innocence.

There is an unhealthy relationship between a dishonest NHS Trust and the GMC. We doctors need to work to change the system as, in its present form, it is corrupt and clearly unfit for purpose………”

Thank you, Mr. Karim for staying the course-we salute you!

The next time the GMC makes a public statement about wanting to address the racial discrimination of BME doctors in the NHS we should all remember this case!

2. The Guardian-Johnson’s former race adviser accuses Tories of inflaming culture wars

On 15 June 2021 the Guardian published an article with the title outlined above, which reads in part:

“Boris Johnson former race adviser warned of another Stephen Lawrence or Jo Cox tragedy if members of the government continue to inflame the culture wars gripping parts of the nation.

Speaking publicly for the first time since he resigned two months ago, Samuel Kasumu said he feared there were some in government pursuing a strategy of exploiting division for electoral gain that could result in severe consequences for the country.

“There are some people in the government who feel like the right way to win is to pick a fight on the culture war and exploit division”, he told the Guardian in an interview.” I worry about that. It seems like people have very short memories, and they’ve already forgotten Jo Cox”

The man who killed her, he believes, was potentially radicalised and worked into a “frenzy” by the culture war narratives in certain newspapers and pushed by media commentators.

“If I was going to go to William Hill today and place a bet on what the most likely option is, I’d probably say a Jo Cox, a Stephen Lawrence, a Windrush scandal is where we’re headed if you don’t find a way to overcome this cultural moment. I feel the government must be the ones to try to help drive that change”.

Another article published by the same author in the race section of the Guardian on the same day titled “People have already forgotten Jo Cox’: Samuel Kasumu on why he quit as No 10’s race adviser” captures Mr. Kasumu lack of comment concerning the CRED and its report notably:

“Kasumu feels that the commissioners who were selected met the brief he set, although he acknowledges the outcry when Tony Sewell was announced as chair of the commission. He believes Sewell deserved to be on the commission, describing him as a good man who has helped change the direction of thousand of young people’s lives. He also says he told colleagues that they owed Sewell a duty of care to protect him.

“But during the time I was helping to recruit the commissioners, I felt like there should have been a chair that commanded the respect and authority from both sides of the debate. And the test was: could they have been seen to prejudge the outcome and did they have practical experience?” he says.

So does he believe the report, which did not find institutional racism in the areas it examined, was a bad-faith exercise to stoke the culture war? Kasumu refuses to comment. (He tweeted on 5 June that he had “so many emotions reading the report and was “in total shock”). What does he think of the sharp criticism that followed the report from a range of individuals including Woolley and Doreen Lawrence, who said it would allow racism to florish? Kasumu refuses to comment. What role did Munira Mirza, who runs Downing Street’s policy unit and has previously case doubt on the existence of institutional racism play in pulling the report together? Again, Kasumu refuses to comment……’

We rest our case and will leave you to decide!

3. Vacancy-Non-Executive Director-Chair of Audit, Risk and Governance Committee-Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

The Chair of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust is keen to ensure a diverse candidate pool of applicants for recruitment to the Non-Executive Director post with a focus on Audit, Risk and Governance.

Given the Trust’s support for our Network we have agreed to assist them in this regard and would like to encourage you to share the adverts, which can be found here and here and here and here as widely as possible.

To state the obvious there is a need for more diverse Boards in the NHS so thank you for your assistance with this in advance.

4. Covid jabs mandatory for care home staff in England

Covid jabs are now mandatory for all care home staff in England. Staff now have 16 weeks to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs.

The Guardian reported on 15 June that:

“The controversial measure sets up a likely battle with staff in both services and could lead to the government being sued under European human rights law or equalities legislation for breaching the freedom of people who work in caring roles to decide what they put into their bodies”.

…ministers including the health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, believe the arguments in favour of protecting patients from potentially infectious staff outweigh those that allow health workers the right to choose whether or not to have either immunisation”.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will now be launching two separate consultation exercises into making Covid and flu jabs mandatory for NHS staff.

The Guardian also reported that one NHS said:

“If you are going to go down this route of mandation for NHS staff, you will get into a direct confrontation with a group of staff you’re forcing to do this at a time when you’re denying them a decent pay rise but also saying how much you love them.

The government hasn’t thought through the consequences of this. Hospital trusts could end up having to suspend or even dismiss members of staff who continue to refuse to be vaccinated against Covid in defiance of a policy requiring them to get jabbed” the senior figure said”

….Hospital bosses are also worried that the government’s apparent readiness to force staff to get vaccinated will lead to them having to have “difficult conversations” with black and minority staff, as take-up rates are lower among them than among white NHS personnel. Persuading young female employees worried about the Covid vaccines affecting their fertility to get immunised has also been a problem in many trusts”.

An article published in the Shropshire Star states:

“NHS providers, the body representing health trusts, said compulsory vaccination “raises a range of complex employment, legal, ethical and practical questions for trusts” and welcomed the launch of a formal consultation.

The organisation’s deputy chief executive, Saffron Cordery, said there are “different views” on the issue and said many trust leaders “will ask whether the introduction of mandatory vaccination for the flu and Covid-19 jabs for NHS staff is the right approach to take at this point.

She said: There are alternative approaches -such as continuing to invest in individual conversations and requiring a flu or covid -19 injection as a condition of employment for all new entrants to the NHS. This is, of course, very different to retrospectively imposing the condition for all existing employees.

Watch this space!

5. UK and US agree new partnership to combat global pandemics in the future and health inequalities

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the US National Centre for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analysis, run by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have agreed to work in partnership to increase disease surveillance as well as genomic and variant sequence capacity worldwide, advance clinical trials for vaccines and therapeutic and diagnostics for infectious disease threats.

The UKHSA will also be establishing a new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness (CPP). The CPP will work with partners to monitor emerging and existing pathogens which have the potential to become outbreaks or pandemics.

We are keen to find out how this partnership will address health inequalities-another space to watch!