Race bias case 'blighted career': Doctor fails in 126 job applications after tribunal

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The Independent Online
A BLACK doctor was turned down for 126 jobs after winning a racial discrimination case against St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, the BMA conference was told yesterday. Dr Ashraf Memon said that lodging the complaint had blighted his career.

Dr Memon, 33, has not been shortlisted for any of 126 hospital jobs he has applied for since he was turned down for a registrar's post in surgery at Bart's.

Supported by the Campaign for Racial Equality, Dr Memon went to an industrial tribunal claiming racial discrimination. Last month, he won a pounds 6,000 out-of-court settlement from the hospital. One member of the interviewing panel at Bart's had implied that his Asian origin meant he was unlikely to get a surgical job in any hospital in the South, Dr Memon said.

Dr Memon was one of three candidates shortlisted for the job at Bart's in November 1991, two of whom were black. The post was given to the third, white candidate, described by one member of the panel as 'a good chap', according to the official report of the proceedings.

Dr Memon has three FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) qualifications, from England, Scotland and Ireland. He took the exams set by all three countries to try to overcome the discrimination he has faced. Now he fears he may have been blacklisted.

Under the terms of his settlement with Bart's, the teaching hospital has agreed to review its equal opportunities policies. But Professor Norman Browse, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, has told Dr Memon in a letter that in his experience appointments panels for surgical jobs are 'all conducted in a fair and unbiased manner'.

Dr Memon has no job to go to when his contract with the Glasgow Royal Infirmary runs out at the end of this month. Speaking in a debate on stress, he said: 'The BMA will be perceived to be a white man's trade union, unless it accepts its moral duty to eradicate racial discrimination in the profession.'

Delegates later passed motions from the BMA's Barking and Waltham Forest Divisions instructing the association to compile evidence of discrimination and 'take effective measures' to eliminate it.