We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers and healthcare managers working on a two-year research and development project focused on understanding the use of evidence in commissioning health services for multiethnic populations in England.
The project is funded as part of an SDO NIHR research stream on Research utilisation and knowledge mobilisation by healthcare managers, and partners with NHS co-researchers in Sheffield, Leeds and Bradford, and with the Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Leeds.
Though patterns of ill-health are complex, people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds have poorer health outcomes than the White British majority across a range of indicators. For example, people identifying themselves as Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian have much higher risk of diabetes than the general population.
A variety of factors contribute to poor health among BME people. In particular, people in minority communities are more likely to live in poverty than the White British majority.
Access to high quality, appropriate preventive and curative health services should have the potential to ameliorate inequalities in health outcomes. However, people from BME backgrounds generally have a poorer patient experience than White British patients, and may be actively or passively discriminated against in the health system. Health services may not be provided in an appropriate language, services can be inappropriate or insensitive to minority needs, and health workers may treat BME patients poorly.There is little evidence of improvement in health for people in BME communities. Despite government commitments to reduce health inequalities in general, levels have actually increased in recent years, including in the 'spearhead' regions where there are a high proportion of BME people.
Our project is investigating how evidence and information on BME communities is being used in the commissioning of health services, and aims to develop tools to help health managers use this information better.