Ethnicity and health: Policy context
Plan, published in 2000, included a focus on the actions and
service developments needed to address inequalities in health. The Plan
highlighted the need to address the “inverse care law”, where
services for those communities in greatest need, including minority ethnic
communities, are often poorer than average.
The most recent planning guidance for the NHS, Health
and Social Care Standards and Planning Framework 2005/06–2007/08, arguably includes
an even greater emphasis on issues related to minority ethnic groups,
Re developing local plans: “PCTs and their
partner organisations should demonstrate that they have taken account
of different needs and inequalities within the local population,
in respect of area, socio-economic group, ethnicity, gender, disability,
age, faith, and sexual orientation, on the basis of a systematic
programme of health equity audit and equality impact assessment.
This should address issues of race equality”.
Re improving the patient/user experience: “Given that
evidence shows relatively poor take up of services by people from
black and minority ethnic communities, PCTs should work with local
provider organisations to improve (a) the way people from black
and minority ethnic communities are consulted about local health
and health care issues and (b) the way their experience is monitored”.
Re improving information for patients: “PCTs should ensure
that adequate patient information and support processes are set
up and, particularly, to provide targeted support for hard-to-reach
individuals and communities, including black and minority ethnic
This increased emphasis followed The
Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 which placed public authorities under a general statutory duty
promote equality of opportunity and good race relations between people
of different racial groups, “placing race equality at the centre
of policy making, service delivery and employment practice”.
English Strategic Health Authorities have collaborated with the Commission
for Racial Equality to produce a race
equality performance framework for the NHS. The
framework is primarily for SHAs to performance manage their local NHS
but all NHS organisations will find it useful to help them identify areas
of their work they need to concentrate on.