The most vulnerable in society are often those who experience the cumulative impact of health inequalities. Our work to identify and tackle ethnic health inequalities recognises the complexity of the social determinants of health as well as the resulting effect that can have on individual personal choices.
Under this workstream, we will aim to remain responsive to emerging ethnic health inequalities and seek to raise the profile of issues that are not commonly advocated for or well-funded. This means talking frankly about the persisting role of systemic and institutional racism in our health system.
Among our early priorities has been the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has the disease itself impacted Black and Asian communities to a disproportionate degree, but the roll-out of vaccines among the public and the health and care workforce exposed issues of mistrust between some communities and the national establishments that were designed to protect them.
We will also explore race inequalities in blood donation and organ transplants; sickle cell disease; racial bias in medical devices and diagnostic processes; and many more issues besides. We are committed to engaging with and responding to the concerns of those we were established to work for – the patients, service users, workers and members of the public who have negative experiences and health outcomes because of their ethnicity.
As part of this workstream, we:
- Engage with patients, service users, and specialists to identify emerging issues and raise the profile of issues that have dropped off the policy radar.
- Produce briefings, policy reviews, and other papers outlining actionable recommendations, and work closely with the NHS, the Department of Health and Social Care, and others to promote progressive and equitable policy interventions.
- Co-produce resources and gather information to support vulnerable communities and individuals.
One of our programmes of work within this workstream is our Sickle Cell programme.