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Racial health inequality is stark and requires concerted action, says review

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o382 (Published 14 February 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o382

Linked Opinion

Now is the time for radical action on racial health inequalities

  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent, UK

There is a clear and overwhelming case for radical action on racial inequity in the healthcare system, a review has concluded.1

The damning report, commissioned by the NHS Race and Health Observatory, found “widespread” ethnic inequalities across a range of health services, with some communities found to have particularly poor access, experiences, and outcomes.

For too many years the health of people from ethnic minorities has been negatively affected by a lack of appropriate NHS treatment for health problems, poor quality or discriminatory treatment from healthcare staff, missing data on ethnic monitoring; and a lack of appropriate interpreting services, the report said. Many people from ethnic minorities may delay or avoid seeking help because they fear racist treatment from NHS professionals, it added.

“It is clear that existing evidence on the stark health inequalities faced by ethnic minority communities has not led to significant change,” said Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory. “By drawing together the evidence and plugging the gaps where we find them we have made a clear and overwhelming case for radical action on race …

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