UK health services may be missing out because doctors with disabilities and health issues don’t always get the support they need to fulfil their potential, says the General Medical Council (GMC).
The regulator has launched a consultation on new guidance, called Welcomed and valued, which advises medical educators and employers on what they can do to ensure all students and doctors, including those with disabilities, have the environments they need to progress.
The GMC oversees medical education and training across the UK, and is working with doctors’ representatives and organisations responsible for delivering teaching and training to develop advice on how best to support disabled doctors.
Professor Colin Melville, the General Medical Council’s Director of Education and Standards, said: "A diverse medical workforce is important as it reflects and better understands the population it treats and cares for. Doctors with health conditions and disabilities have a lot to offer, and at a time when the country needs all the medical staff it can get it’s unacceptable for unnecessary barriers to be placed in the way of those who want to become our future doctors.
"In order for this to happen, it is vital that those who are beginning their medical education, as well as doctors in training, are given the help and flexible support they need from those delivering their education and training.
"It is a complex area, and we have drafted our guidance in collaboration with experts, including disabled medical students and doctors who have told us about the hurdles they had to overcome to pursue their careers.
"his consultation will help us finalise the guidance, which will outline the practical support medical education and training providers can offer to ensure all doctors, regardless of disability, are welcomed and valued, and given the tools and flexibility they need to succeed.’
More information on how to take part in the GMC’s Welcomed and valued consultation is available at gmc-uk.org/ablemedics. The consultation is open until 20 September.