Reflections on commissioning health care for culturally diverse populations
15 March 2013

The conference has just finished and I've come away with lots to follow up on. I'm struck that there is more acknowledgement here that because of past experiences and history, some groups of BME people will be less likely to trust health professionals. I've been impressed by charts produced by insurance companies showing for example the uptake of cancer screening by people of different ethnicities. This shows clearly where the inequalities lie and similar data is used to measure progress in reducing those disparities following the introduction of targetted interventions. I know similar data for the UK exists in academic studies but I haven't seen it used by the NHS.

I went to a really interesting workshop today about the work of bilingual patient navigators at Seattle Childrens Hospital. Working with vulnerable families with children with very complex health needs, they have had a significant impact. Families receiving their services have much lower rates of missing appointments. In addition their children are readmitted on average 1.01 times a year compared to 3.68 times for families of the same ethnicity who don't have this support and the average length of hospital stay for their children is 6.5 days compared to 14.8 days.

Sessions on the influence of unconscious bias on patient care and training to address this, the health inequalities experienced by transgender patients and work on genetic disorders with Native American people showed we face very similar challenges on our side of the pond.

I'm looking forward to reflecting on what I've learnt and sharing that learning once I'm back in the UK.

West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit

West Yorkshire office:
Douglas Mill
Bowling Old Lane
Bradford
West Yorkshire
BD5 7JR

Tel: 0845 1115000

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw office:
722 Prince of Wales Road
Darnall
Sheffield
South Yorkshire
S9 4EU

Tel: 0114 3051000

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