Institutional racism in health service, says NHS body

According to an independent body set up by the NHS to tackle ethnic minority inequalities in England, there is institutional racism in the healthcare and public sectors.

The NHS Race and Health Observatory said it was “disappointed” with some of the conclusions of the Racial and Ethnic Differences Commission report released on Wednesday.

The review commissioned by the Black Lives Matter movement found that ethnic minority groups outperformed the majority white population on some key health metrics, including life expectancy and all-cause mortality.

This evidence “clearly suggests” that ethnicity is not the “main driver” of health inequalities in the UK, it said.

Instead, it suggests that deprivation, geography, and differential exposure to major risk factors such as obesity, smoking, and alcohol use were indicators of poorer health outcomes.

The chairman of the report also said he had found no evidence of “institutional racism” and the report criticized the way the term was used, saying it should not be used as a “collective term” for microaggression.

Observatory Chair, Marie Gabriel, said: “The Observatory believes that tackling persistent ethnic and racial differences in health and society is absolutely right.

“As an evidence-based organization, however, the Observatory was disappointed with several of the report’s key conclusions, including those on the root causes of ethnic inequalities.

“The Observatory is an independent panel of experts established by the NHS to study the health inequalities faced by ethnic minorities in England.

“The evidence cited therein is clear: there is institutional racism in this country, in the organizations that make up our health and care system, and in all public institutions.”

One of the Commission’s 24 recommendations is for the government to set up a new independent body to work with the NHS to tackle the health disparities in the UK.

The observatory said several recommendations were of “particular interest” and would contact government departments to discuss them further.

There will be a more detailed reply to the Commission’s report in the coming weeks.

It added, ‘Britain will never be a’ successful multicultural community ‘until it is the same.

“The observatory was set up to shed light on discriminatory structures and collect evidence to help health and care organizations rebuild these structures in a way that eliminates inequalities, rather than exacerbating them.”


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