Intended for healthcare professionals


Ethnic minorities and their perceptions of the quality of primary care

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 17 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3797
  1. Aziz Sheikh, professor of primary care research & development
  1. 1Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG
  1. aziz.sheikh{at}

    Greater tailoring of services to local populations and personalisation of care are needed

    Societies are becoming more culturally diverse and this trend—which is driven by a combination of political and economic forces, globalisation, and improved access to travel—is set to continue. More than two decades of research, mainly from English language speaking countries, shows that ethnic minority people tend to have poorer outcomes than the white majority population for a range of diseases.1 Research from the UK has, for example, shown that the risk of an emergency admission among South Asians with asthma is three times higher than the risk in white people, and is twice as high in black individuals.2 Similar inequalities have also been noted with respect to risk of developing diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, and stroke.3 4 5 6 In the linked study (doi:10.1136/bmj.b3450), Mead and Roland assess why patients from ethnic minorities also tend to give lower evaluations of primary health care than white patients.7

    The factors underpinning inequalities …

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