GMC clears doctors who alleged race bias

TWO DOCTORS who made allegations of racial bias among their health service colleagues have been cleared of unprofessional conduct. The General Medical Council launched an investigation after secret research revealed discrimination against doctors from ethnic minority groups.

Aneez Esmail, a senior registrar, and Sam Everington, a general practitioner, concluded that medical staff with non-English sounding names were losing out in the battle for jobs. During their inquiries they were arrested by fraud squad police and questioned about making fraudulent job applications - but not prosecuted.

The GMC began an investigation into their conduct before the research conclusions were published in the British Medical Journal. Now Dr Esmail, 36, and Dr Everington, 35, have been told the council will not be pursuing the accusation. But they were warned the 'information will be retained in the council's records'.

Dr Esmail, a lecturer in general practice at Manchester University, said yesterday: 'We now want to establish if that is a threat. Obviously the GMC was very angry about it, but I don't see that it has a right to be angry. It is ridiculous. It is a typical example of us being shot rather than the people committing the offence.'

Their seven-month research involved sending out virtually identical job applications and CVs for a number of senior house officer posts at hospitals around the country.