NHS Race and Health Observatory response to Health and Care Bill

  • Published: 14.07.2021

Dr Habib Naqvi, director, NHS Race and Health Observatory, said:

“Health and care organisations must become better aligned in their duty of care to improve healthcare services for black and minority ethnic patients resulting in substantial shifts towards more positive outcomes for diverse communities.

“The Observatory is fully committed to exploring reforms for integration as set out in the bill, aspects of which are reflected in our latest, independent report which outlines clear recommendations and actions needed to take to tackle ethnic health inequalities across the NHS.

The appointment of new leaders for Integrated Care Systems is an opportunity for the NHS to deliver on its long-standing aim to diversify the system’s senior leadership and make it more representative of the communities it serves.”


  • The report finds that the NHS health system has not given as much priority to tackling health inequalities, including ethnic health inequalities, as it has to other issues such as waiting times and financial targets. It calls for action to address ethnic health inequalities to be prioritised at every level of the system, with much stronger accountability for progress.
  • The report was launched on 15 June at the 2021 Confederation Conference with Richard Murray, CEO, King’s Fund,  Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Director, Public Health England, Dr Halima Begum, Director, Runnymede Trust and Dr Habib Naqvi, Director, NHS Race and Health Observatory.
  • It calls for all NHS partners, including national government, neighbourhood teams, primary care networks, providers, and Integrated Care Systems to prioritise investigating, with renewed focus, a commitment to tackling ethnic health inequalities. This must become a key plan of action in developing organisational strategies.
  • Reducing ethnic and wider health inequalities has not been aligned with other pressures on the NHS system. Now, transformative, innovated approaches must be employed.