Dr Ramesh Mehta OBE has been awarded a CBE in the New Year’s King’s Honours list, for services to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). Dr Ramesh Mehta, a retired paediatrician, founded BAPIO in 1996 after he witnessed the struggles of overseas doctors in the NHS. He dedicated himself to the cause of equality and justice. He established an organisation which has, since inauguration by the then Secretary of State, Ms Tessa Jowell, continued to challenge inequalities and has worked steadfastly on his mission of eradicating discrimination. Under his stewardship, BAPIO has forged partnerships and working relationships across the NHS, GMC, Medical Royal Colleges, and across the globe. The small unit he once set up from his base in Bedford now stretches across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. With his colleagues and Executive team in BAPIO he has expanded the organisation into a medical defence arm, Medical Defence Shield; a teaching and training arm, the BAPIO Training Academy; a research body, BAPIO Institute of Healthcare Research; a nurses’ arm’s length body, British Indian Nurses Association; and a Faculty of Leadership. Dr Mehta has a unique style of statesmanship which is inspirational, visionary and collaborative.
He is forthright in his mission in eliminating discrimination and is not afraid to mount legal challenges when necessary. In 2006 he fought for parity between doctors recruited from Europe with those from the Indian subcontinent; in 2013 he guided BAPIO in a Judicial Review against the regulator and the Royal College of General Practitioners, on the basis that overseas doctors were unfairly disadvantaged in the Membership examination. Over the last quarter of a century, he has worked collaboratively with NHS organisations and regulatory authorities in developing a better understanding of EDI, and supported research into effective solutions, while at the same time challenging systems where discrimination has occurred. Dr JS Bamrah, the Chair of BAPIO, echoes the pride of the entire organisation and its members in this award. ‘Dr Mehta is a pioneer. He has bravely trodden where others have not dared to. His courage and determination have made the NHS a better place to work in, and this award, which comes on the heels of an OBE in 2017 for services to the NHS, is well deserved.’ The Secretary of BAPIO, Professor Parag Singhal, commented: ‘Dr Mehta has the rare quality of vision and transformation of systems.
He has often led a lonely path, but his commitment to eradicating discrimination in the NHS and medical world has never wavered. I am delighted that he has been awarded a CBE in the King’s Honours list.’ Speaking to Asian Voice about receiving this honour, Dr Mehta said, “I am delighted to receive this honour for my services to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. I hope that this recognition will give further impetus to the EDI agenda. I am pleased that there is improvement in the discrimination of ethnic minority staff but a lot more work needs to be done to achieve the equity of treatment.”