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Doctors call for action not words from NHS in response to racial inequality report

Health officials have “paid lip service” to racism in the NHS for years, leading black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors have warned as they called for “concrete” action to tackle inequalities exposed by a landmark review.

The damning study – the largest of its kind – had found “vast” and “widespread” inequity in every aspect of healthcare it reviewed, and warned that this was harming the health of minority ethnic patients in England.

In response, an NHS spokesperson said the health service was “already taking action” to improve the experiences of patients and access to services and was working “to drive forward” the recommendations made in the report.

However, Dr JS Bamrah, a consultant psychiatrist in Greater Manchester and national chairman of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, said he was unsatisfied with the response.

“This 166-page review … is a terrible indictment of the current state of the NHS,” he told the Guardian. “As many of us have often said and reported, we don’t need any further reports. It’s action we need, as there are scores of patients who are not getting optimal treatment, and many are being neglected.

“It really isn’t good enough for NHS bosses to say that action is being taken and it’s even more disappointing to then not see any concrete proposals on dealing with glaring disparities despite all that we have learnt during the pandemic.”

Dr Rajesh Mohan, presidential lead for race and equality at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said it was “time for warm words to end” as he urged NHS leaders to “do everything they can to ensure patients from ethnic minority backgrounds get the care they need”.

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Source: The Guardian, 15 February 2022


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