Trusts have been told to ‘get their act together’ on health inequalities, after HSJ research suggested only a small minority have so far published data on disparities in waiting times between different patient groups.
Planning guidance issued by NHS England in September 2021 said trusts’ board performance reports should include a disaggregation of waiting lists by ethnicity and deprivation group.
Through freedom of information and media requests, HSJ attempted to obtain such data from the 20 trusts with the largest waiting lists, but only three currently appear to have met the requirement in full.
The remainder either said they were still undertaking the work, were thinking about how to publish it, or failed to respond.
Roger Kline, an academic researcher and former director of NHSE’s workforce race equality standard, said trusts should have been collecting and publishing the data for years.
He said: “We know there are issues around health and healthcare of some groups of people, most notably in poor working class communities and black and minority ethnic communities. It shouldn’t be seen as an optional extra, this should be part of good public health work and good equitable healthcare provision."
“This data should be on the trust website. It should be an active part of the conversations with local communities. Well done to the trusts that are pushing this forward. The ones that are not need to get their act together.”
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Source: HSJ, 3 May 2022