- Posted Wednesday January 23, 2019
Brits eat three times as many baked beans as anyone else in Europe, help themselves to 430,000 gallons of hotel shampoo every year and drink 165 million cups of tea every day. How well do you fit that profile?
For starters, it may be that you have a more cosmopolitan palate and so spaghetti hoops are more your thing than beans; you may also be follicly challenged, so hotel shampoo holds no interest, and your personal taste in beverages may mean an espresso is more your “cup of tea”.
You may wonder what point I’m getting at here, so let me ask a question - if you don’t conform to the national characteristics mentioned above, does that then make you any less British? More importantly, does that make you any less good at your job?
Obviously, the answer to both of these questions is an emphatic NO.
Why then do some people sometimes see different but equally irrelevant attributes as important in assessing the competence of an individual?
What does ‘Scottish’ look like?
This was demonstrated in the recent case reported by BBC Scotland where a patient asked a receptionist if one of the practice’s GPs, Dr Punam Krishan, was Scottish. When they confirmed she was, the patient replied, “She doesn’t look Scottish”, to which the receptionist asked: “What do Scottish people look like?”
This begs the question of what the nationality or “look” of any individual has got to do with how good they are at their job.
I have delivered several Equality and Diversity workshops for Thornfields where participants have shared similar experiences to the one above, with patients have sought reassurance about the nationality of a clinician.
My question has always been to ask why, as surely the only important considerations in these situations are (a) the needs of the patient, and (b) the skills and experience of the person who is treating them.
Worryingly, in some cases those asking such questions are sometimes excused as being “a bit of a character” or “it’s only so and so, they’ve always been like that”. But as we all know, letting such questions go unchallenged suggests that any policy-based commitment of that organisation to equally and diversity is merely a paper one.
What approach does the CQC take to equality and diversity?
Obviously, there this is a strong moral, legal, contractual and business case for equality and diversity being central to primary care service provision. Primary care’s regulator, the Care Quality Commission, will want to the see evidence of how any GP practice translates their policies into their day-to-day operations.
This may include how a Practice complies with contractual requirements such as the Accessible Information Standard or whether a practice has taken steps to ensure their team has an understanding of practical preferred approaches, such as the use of “neutral language” in conversations.
Hopefully this talk about baked beans has given you food for thought about how your GP practice embraces equality and diversity, as well as how you demonstrate your commitment to it in your everyday activities. If you’d like to learn more about Thornfields course on this topic, click here.