TRAINEE medics will be taught that watching out for a patient turning blue is “inherently racist”.
The University of Bristol Medical School has said that it will now use the “anti-racist” methods of teaching as it tries to “decolonise” its curriculum.
New measures will see students taught about the diversity of skin tones among patients.
Students at other medicals schools are also pushing for similar reforms.
Dr Joseph Hartland, helping to lead the changes at the University of Bristol Medical School, told the BBC: “Historically, medical education was designed and written by white middle-class men, and so there is an inherent racism in medicine that means it exists to serve white patients above all others.”
He said signs of blue in fingertips or lips can show up differently in darker skin.
“Essentially we are teaching students how to recognise a life-or-death clinical sign largely in white people, and not acknowledging these differences may be dangerous,” he said.
Eva Larkai, who leads the black and minority ethnic medical student group at the school, said that the measures would ultimately lead to patients having better treatment.
She added: “If the new generation of doctors are not being equipped to adequately care for the multi-ethnic population we see here in the UK and across the world, we are doing the patients a disservice.”
Dr Clare Owen, of the Medical Schools Council, said: “It is vital that not only should the profession represent our diverse population but it should also understand the unique health differences in our various communities.”
A draft report by Public Health England has suggested that “historic racism and poorer experiences of healthcare” could have led to BAME people being disproportionately hit by Covid-19.
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