Racism

S Gavaskar made this Freedom of Information request to General Medical Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

Firstly, please would you inform me of the number of times the General Medical Council has been accused of racism, either as formal complaints or any informal accusations. I would be grateful if you could go back as far as you can in time - within the budget allowed - providing the number of years that were covered and the number of accusations of racism within that time.
Secondly, please release any information you hold concerning an alleged incident in which [name removed] of the General Medical Council is said to have used an offensive racist term to describe a man from south Asia this year
Thank you for your assisstance.

Yours faithfully,

S Gavaskar

FOI, General Medical Council

Thank you for getting in touch.

 

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can with a further acknowledgement.
You’ll usually hear from us within 24 hours, but it might take a little
longer during busy periods.

 

In the meantime, if you want any further information about the GMC, please
visit our website.

 

 

Thank you

 

Information access team

General Medical Council

Email: [GMC request email]

Telephone: 0161 923 6365

Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical
education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and
doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and
take action when they are not met.

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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear S Gavaskar

Your information request – F15/7330/EH

Thank you for your email dated 09 September 2015 asking for the number of times the General Medical Council has been accused of racism.

How we will consider your request

We’re going to look at your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond but we’ll come back to you as soon as we can.

Who to contact

Elizabeth Hiley will be handling your request. If you have any questions you can call her on 0161 923 6314 or email her at [email address].

Yours sincerely

Mrs Mariam Ifzal
Information Assistant
[email address]
0161 923 6420

General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW

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Elizabeth Hiley (0161 923 6314), General Medical Council

Our reference: F15/7330/EH
 
Dear Sir/Madam
 
Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
 
Complaints about the GMC
 
In June 2015 we introduced an electronic system by which we can classify
complaints received about the GMC. This allows staff to note whether the
complaint contains any reference to racial discrimination. A search of the
system shows that seven complaints have been identified as containing a
reference to racial discrimination since this time.
 
Prior to this we did not record complaints in such a way as to enable us
to run an electronic search for this information. Therefore I can’t
provide any further information about the number of such complaints
received because it would cost too much to do so. Under the FOIA there’s
an exemption for requests where it would cost the public authority more
than £450 to process – equivalent to two and a half day’s work.
 
To estimate the cost we can take into account determining, locating,
retrieving and extracting the information requested.  We would need to
locate and manually check the details of each complaint to establish
whether they contain any reference to racial discrimination.
 
To demonstrate the costs involved, even if we were just to provide data
based on complaints received in the past year within the Fitness to
Practise Directorate (therefore not including complaints received by other
sections of the GMC), we would need to check around 850 complaints to see
if they contained a reference to racial discrimination. A review of the
initial complaint may take approximately ten minutes; therefore to review
this number may take around 140 hours. Based on an hourly rate of £25 per
hour (which is set by the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate
Limit) Regulations 2004) this aspect alone could cost us £3500. Please
note that this estimate does not include the time required to locate each
complaint. Your request would therefore cost us significantly in excess of
the ‘appropriate limit’ to process. 
 
Under the FOIA, the specific exemption we believe applies is at section
12. This states that we are not required comply with a request if we
estimate that the cost of doing so would exceed the appropriate limit.
 
Allegation against a staff member
 
We do not believe that it is appropriate to publicly disclose whether or
not a particular staff member has been the subject of any such allegation.
Therefore I can’t confirm whether or not we hold the information you
request.
 
Section 40(5)(b)(i) of the FOIA applies where the information, if held,
would be the personal data of a third party and where confirming whether
it’s held would breach any principle of the Data Protection Act 1998
(DPA).  I believe that to publicly confirm or deny whether we hold the
information would breach the first principle of the DPA, which requires
that the processing of personal data is fair and lawful. I believe the
conditions in Schedule 2 of the DPA, which are about the processing of
personal information, are not met and therefore confirming whether or not
the information is held would be unlawful.
 
Your right to appeal
 
I'm sorry I couldn’t provide all the information you requested. You can
appeal against this decision to Julian Graves, Information Access
Manager.  If you want to appeal, please set out your reasons and write to
him at the above address or email [email address].  You can also appeal
to the Information Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA and DPA – we
can provide more details about this if you need them.
 
 
Yours faithfully
 
Elizabeth Hiley
Information Access Officer
General Medical Council
 
Telephone: 0161 923 6314
Email: [1][email address]
 
 
 
 
Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical
education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and
doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and
take action when they are not met.

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Dear Elizabeth Hiley (0161 923 6314),

Thank you for your reply. It is unfortunate that the General Medical Council will only search for examples of racism over the past 4 months. How did you handle freedom of information requests prior to the introduction of the electronic system?

[extraneous potentially defamatory material removed]

Sincerely

Gavaskar