At The Armitage Foundation, we believe that by changing the opportunities for young people today, we can transform the outcomes and opportunities for patients and medical professionals alike. We envision a community of medical professionals, working together to help each other to not only be the best that they can be, but to bring the best outcomes to all patients and colleagues, regardless of their backgrounds. Among our valued partnerships, we are proud to be endorsed by the BMA, the UK’s trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK, which represents more than 160,000 doctors and medical students
Our mission closely aligns with the BMA’s objects: to promote the medical and allied sciences, maintain the honour and interests of the medical profession, and promote the achievement of high-quality healthcare. We were, therefore, delighted to receive endorsement from the BMA Council Chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul:
The Armitage Foundation’s vision of an NHS workforce that reflects the diverse society it deserves and where any student possessing the capability and passion for becoming a doctor is able to do so, regardless of their background, is one that is also shared by the BMA. Their school-based programmes, designed to help students from year 8 through to year 13, equip the students with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to gain a place at medical school. This long-term intervention approach ensures that students from underrepresented backgrounds get the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
We strongly support The Armitage Foundation’s work and hope to be able to work together to achieve our common objectives around widening participation in medicine.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul
BMA Council Chair
Promoting Doctor-Patient Trust
Promoting medical school applications from a diversity of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds will, in the long term, mean that patients will be able to see doctors to whom they can relate. This will lead to increased trust between patient and their doctor, which will promote improved uptake of recommended actions and, hence, outcomes.
While there has been limited investigation into the importance of having a diverse workforce of doctors, studies are beginning to show the importance of ethnic diversity on patient outcomes; one study on male patients showed that black men were more likely to undergo tests and treatment if advised by black male physicians than white male physicians. The American study concluded that a diverse medical workforce could reduce the black-white gap in cardiovascular mortality by 19% and the gap in black-white male life expectancy by 8% (BMJ – 28/09/2018). There is no doubt that, just as some women prefer to see a female physician and some men prefer to be treated by a male, some people will feel more comfortable seeing a doctor who they think can relate to them culturally or socially.
Improving Diagnosis For All Skin Colours
Improved patient outcomes will extend beyond patients being to see doctors to whom they relate; improved representation of all societies will lead to the consideration of diverse perspectives, as highlighted by medical student, Malone Mukwende’s, experience. During his studies at St George’s, University of London Mukwende noticed the lack of diversity in medical literature and education. When trying to understand how symptoms such as bruising, blue lips, and rashes, presented on dark skin, it became clear that there were limited – or no- standard references, and people were not taught the correct terminology when referring to symptoms on darker skin. Malone partnered with Dr. Peter Tamony to create a universal tool that would help medical professionals to understand symptoms and terminology for all skin colours. Mind the Gap: A Handbook of Clinical Signs in Black and Brown Skin aims to bridge the outcomes gap for patients with darker skin by making medical professionals better informed.
Building a Stronger Community
We believe that anyone who has the desire and ability to become a doctor should be able to do so. By bringing equity to the medical admissions process, we hope to support the BMA’s mission to give a voice and equal representation to doctors from all backgrounds. It is our hope that groups that are currently underrepresented among doctors will, in time, have better representation in their workforce. This will help to give a voice to minority groups, as medical professionals offer each other solidarity, understanding and support in their treatment of patients and their interactions with each other.
We are proud to have received endorsement from the BMA and very much look forward to working with them in the future.