Tackling racial inequalities in health and care

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The shocking murder of George Floyd, the protests in the UK and around the world, and the efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement have once again underlined the injustice, discrimination and racism faced by Black people. 

These events are the latest manifestation of deep inequalities that exist across our society, including in the health and care system. We have long known that people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities generally experience poorer health than the overall population and that significant health inequalities exist between different population groups. We also know that BAME staff working in health and care services consistently report worse experiences compared to White staff in terms of bullying, harassment and abuse, discrimination and opportunities for career progression. They are also greatly under-represented in senior positions. 

To add to this, we now have clear evidence of the disproportionate toll Covid-19 has taken on BAME communities, including colleagues working in health and care. This has to mark a turning point. It is not enough to express sorrow or support – we need to tackle this injustice wherever we can. 

At The King's Fund, we are committed to tackling these inequalities through the work we do and by using our voice to encourage change within the health and care system. We have recently begun active discussions with system leaders about this and will soon be publishing the results of our research project exploring race inequalities in the NHS workforce. We are also committed to becoming a more diverse and inclusive organisation. We recognise that we have much to learn and a long way to go to achieve this ambition. 

Addressing the structural inequalities and racism that have been so powerfully highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement will take commitment and effort for the long haul. In the meantime, personally, and on behalf of The King’s Fund, I would like to express solidarity and support for the Black community, including colleagues working in health and care.

Richard Murray
Chief Executive of The King’s Fund

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

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