The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has called for a series of measures to tackle racism against GPs and doctors.
Plans to achieve racial equality in medicine were outlined in Sir Liam's 2007 Annual Report, published yesterday (14 July 2008).
The report claims that, historically, ethnic minority doctors have suffered notable discrimination when applying to medical school and throughout their careers. The report uses data from a number of sources to examine the current situation.
While Sir Liam's report claims there has been improvement in recent years, it says "concerns remain".
The report presents evidence that doctors born outside the UK – particularly in Africa – but who work here have higher mortality rates than their UK-born counterparts.
It also shows evidence that doctors from ethnic minorities are living in more deprived areas of the country.
Sir Liam calls for a series of measures to combat these remaining concerns, including: the establishment of a mentoring scheme for ethnic minority doctors, improved training on equality and race awareness issues for selection panels, and greater support for doctors raising concerns about racial discrimination.
Sir Liam said: "Examining the relationship between ethnicity and doctors is complex. Whilst many institutional barriers have been removed and much has improved, there are still areas that cause concern. Addressing these issues will require cultural and behavioural change."