Health professionals' fear of being 'racist' undermines care

Health professionals contribute to ethnic inequalities in healthcare because of uncertainty and apprehension about how to interact with patients of different ethnicities from their own, UK research says.

Researchers from UK universities held focus groups with 108 health professionals and found many were anxious about appearing 'culturally inappropriate, causing affront or appearing discriminatory or racist' in consultations with patients from different ethnic groups.

In these situations, their ability to 'think and act flexibly faltered', the researchers found. Many had looked up and adopted standard 'knowledge-based' guides to consultations with people from particular cultural backgrounds.

But the researchers warned this could lead to stereotypical expectations of patients.

They concluded that healthcare should have a 'greater focus on each patient as an individual' rather than on their ethnicity.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

View the research

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Hand PCNs control of primary care infrastructure funding, says RCGP

CCG funding for primary care infrastructure should be handed to PCNs when the bodies...

Professor Martin Marshall and Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Talking General Practice speaks to RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul

In-house review not enough to stop 'unjust' GMC referrals, warns BMA

Doctors' leaders have repeated calls for a full independent review of the GMC referral...

Coronavirus

How widespread is long COVID in the UK?

Millions of people in the UK are living with long COVID. GPonline looks at the data...

COVID-19 vaccination sign

GP contract for autumn COVID-19 booster campaign due shortly

GP practices in England will be invited shortly to sign up for the COVID-19 autumn...