Raised By NABA with the Department of Health, May 2005
There is a long history of Arab professionals working within the
NHS and has increased given the greater reliance placed on overseas
medical staff working within the NHS.
The National Association of British Arabs (and the British Arab
Medical Association) receives requests from such bodies as the General
Dental Council regarding the numbers of Arabs and advice on the possible
introduction of ethnic profiling on their individual record bases.
We also give advice to other bodies such as the BMA, BBC and
other media on those professionals that we know of but it is extremely
difficult when numbers are not known.
There are a large number of doctors in training who are first
generation British Arabs. These
will be a valuable asset to the NHS because of their unique knowledge
about their own culture in addition to being fully integrated in British
There is an absence of any monitoring for employment at senior
levels in the NHS especially at consultant level. The lack of data is
the result of current ethnic profiling classifying Arabs under
others/others. There are others indicators that point to higher numbers
of Arab doctors failing to make the grade. On the one hand there is a
bias in the selection for training posts, the accreditation and when all
these are available, considerably longer delays in getting jobs.
There continues to be racism within the NHS both from within the
profession and from patients. Much
of this has been fuelled by recent Middle East history.
It also stems from a lack of awareness of Arab culture and
pre-conceived falsehoods, which stem from negative media stereotyping.
There is evidence of specifically targeted Anti-Arab racism but
this is often not brought forward by victims because of fear of further
any incidents are identified solely on the basis of ‘racist’
identification is required and this can only be achieved by the
inclusion of Arab as an ethnic profile within human resources
Need to identify
patients of Arab origin for following reasons:
a) Need to assess both numbers and concentrations of the Arab
population in the UK for the purpose of assessing specific needs within
the NHS such as the number of translators necessary for hospital, GP
services and social services. Currently
it is only hospitals within central London where health authorities have
taken steps such as translations of health guidance material in Arabic
and the provision of translators in hospitals to cater for this
population. However without
more accurate data, such services will remain haphazard and does not
extend to GP or social services.
There needs to be specific health guidance material aimed at
Arabs in UK as is currently undertaken for the other nationalities eg
south Asian etc. Without
knowing their numbers and areas of concentration this is going to prove
Need to assess particular health needs in the Arab population
regarding disease that might show a higher prevalence among this
population ie diabetes, heart disease etc.
In respect of both health care and social services, there needs
to be training of staff to understand the particular cultural, religious
and social needs of Arab patients.
There is presently no guidance given to health workers but
rather, where thought is given to the subject, there is a presumption
that guidance relating to those of the Muslim faith will apply equally
to cultures and nationalities. This
is not the case. There are
vast cultural differences between Arabs and, say, Asian Muslims.
Neither is consideration given to those Arabs who are Christian
and who often resent being automatically identified within a faith group
(usually Muslim) because of the lack of adequate ethnic profiling.
Ability to access funding for particular projects in respect of
health needs of Arab communities (ie radiotherapy video being undertaken
by Addenbrookes Hospital which British Arab Medical Association has not
been successful in finding funding for).
In terms of social services there are almost no provision for
families who care for elderly and seriously ill relatives in terms of
respite or long-term care. This
puts an enormous burden on families who culturally take on the role of
carers but often at great cost both financially and more significantly,
also important to highlight that racism can exist as an inter ethnic
problem and not necessarily arising from the indigenous population.
profiling of Arabs in the NHS including training posts, awards, etc.
- A retrospective and prospective audit of
training/employment to identify the size of the problem.