Statement in response to Labour Party’s plans for a ‘mission-driven’ Race Equality Act

Several commitments have been announced today around transforming the Race Equality Act including:

  • Improving better ethnicity data collection on health outcomes and experiences across NHS and social care
  • Establishing Integrated Care Boards to implement Race Equality action plans
  • Introducing a new target to close the maternal health gaps experienced by Black and Asian women and those living in deprived areas
  • Improving diversity in clinical trial recruitment across the UK population
  • Expanding access to mental health and reform of the Mental Health Act


Welcoming the commitments to dispel long-standing race and heath inequalities, Professor Habib Naqvi, Chief Executive of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said:

“Long-standing and preventable racial inequalities in health and healthcare are unacceptable and must be rooted out. We therefore welcome the focus on addressing a series of health inequalities which closely align with the Observatory’s ethos and priority programmes of work.

“As the work of the Observatory shows, racial inequity persists in our healthcare system; it’s ingrained in policies, assumptions, curricula, research and in ways of working. While awareness of the impact of racism and racial inequity is growing, meaningful change across healthcare continues to prove slow and difficult.

“An action-focused approach towards tackling racial disparities and deep-seated challenges for our healthcare system is critical, including in maternal health and mental healthcare. Evidence shows that in tackling race inequalities, outcomes are improved for all.

“It is also clear that we need a fully engaged and supported workforce if we are to meaningfully tackle health inequalities. It’s therefore critical that Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff are not overlooked in the workplace, operate at equal levels, do equal roles, and receive equal pay to which they are entitled.

“We cannot shy away from tackling issues which adversely blight the lives of patients, communities and the healthcare workforce. It is imperative that any in power Government is committed to cross-party working, and engaging with all communities, to ensure equity for all.”