The significantly longer waiting times suffered by patients from minority ethnic groups and in more deprived areas for a range of elective procedures have been laid bare in NHS analysis shared with HSJ.
The problem of waiting time disparities between different patient groups has been highlighted by health leaders for several years.
But the NHS chief who oversaw this new work quantifies the issue for a local NHS trust, provides a template for others to follow, and has led to an improvement in waiting times disparities in response.
The analysis of elective waiting lists by Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust found that in October last year patients from a minority ethnic background were waiting three weeks longer on average than white patients for a “priority two” operation – which must be done within a month.
It also found patients from the most deprived communities were waiting 2.5 weeks longer than those from the least deprived areas.
However, Owen Williams, who led the trust when the analysis was carried out, said the analysis, which began early last year, contributed to these disparities being cut significantly over the course of 2021.
In May last year the trust’s patients from the most deprived areas were waiting 8.5 weeks longer on average for priority two operations than those from more affluent areas, while patients from minority ethnic groups were waiting 7.8 weeks longer than white patients.
Mr Williams said NHS trusts boards must be proactive in undertaking similar analysis to reduce health inequalities.
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Source: The Guardian, 24 January 2022
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