Research tenders invited to address structural health inequalities

The independent NHS Race and Health Observatory has today published a series of invitations to commission reviews which explore the gaps in health care provision for racialised and minority ethnic communities and offer evidence-based recommendations for change.

Four new commissions are set to address disparities in mental health care provision for people from Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities; access to precision medicine; communications in maternal healthcare; and health inequalities faced by people with learning difficulties from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Timeframes for each tender will vary, with research projects expected to take on  average delivery phases between five and 12 months.  Additional time to review interim reports, evaluate and approve will be factored within the bids which range from  around £100,000 in value.

Outlined below, brief requirements for Invitation to Tender requirements:


  • Identifying best practice in mental health for Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities

This review will aid understanding of why inequalities exist in mental health care for people from Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities. The review will both identify current best practice and set out proposals for amplifying such practice The work will seek to highlight where effective community engagement and other interventions have had a measurable effect on access, experience and outcomes in mental health pathways for these communities.


  • Learning from Lives and Deaths programme, LeDeR, programme

People with learning disabilities from minority ethnic backgrounds face significant health inequalities. The Learning from Lives and Deaths programme, LeDeR, reviewed over 11,500 lives and deaths of people with a learning disability since April 2017– creating the largest body of evidence in the world on the premature mortality of people with a learning disability.

The theme running through the course of the LeDeR programme is premature mortality and health inequalities experienced by ethnic minority communities. The Observatory’s broad commission will review factors that contribute towards inequalities in health outcomes faced by those with a learning disability who are from a minority ethnic community with clear recommendations for policy and intervention in this area.


  • Ethnic health inequalities in precision medicine and future of medicine

Precision medicine methods take communities beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment; artificial intelligence and machine learning can improve diagnostic capacities and population-level service planning, genomics can help with understanding and treatment of diseases. However, there is a risk that these advances could leave behind communities who already experience ethnic health inequalities.

This commission is for a review into ethnic inequalities in precision medicine, including a consideration of the risks of inequalities being embedded in future practice, and the potential for good practice in precision medicine to reduce or eliminate ethnic health inequalities.

  • Maternity care

The Observatory will shortly announce details around commissioning an organisation to carry out a review of ways to improve communications between expectant mothers, pregnant people and care givers.

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

“We are pleased to announce practical actions the Observatory is taking to address significant gaps where disparaging health inequalities exist and continue to impact our diverse communities. By commissioning new research and synthesising existing evidence in these critical areas, we’ll be able to ensure our health and care system works for everyone, regardless of their race. We will be able to make practical recommendations for national policy leaders and, crucially, the healthcare system will be better placed to support the real-world in the practical implementation of those recommendations.”

Successful tenders will demonstrate best practice and include mixed method studies incorporating existing policy, literature, surveys, interviews and focus groups.