Health June 13, 2019
New research reveals racial disparity in people raising concerns about care

By News Feature - Accountable Care Journal

Research undertaken for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as part of their year-long “Declare Your Care” campaign has revealed those from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background are less likely than those from a non-BME background to raise concerns about the standard of care they receive, particularly in relation to mental health.

The findings show that almost half (48 per cent) of BME people with a previous mental health problem have wanted to raise concerns about mental health services but did not do so. This is compared to just 13 per cent of non-BME people with a mental health problem. Additionally, 84 per cent of BME people with a mental health problem have also wanted to raise concerns or make complaints about the standard of their care more generally, in comparison to 63 per cent of non-BME people with a mental health problem.

The research looked at people in England who have had a health service (NHS and private) or social care experience in the last 5 years, either as a patient or carer.

Reasons highlighted as to why people don’t feed back on their standard of care include not knowing who to raise it with (33 per cent) and not wanting to be a ‘troublemaker’ (33 per cent). Additionally, 37 per cent of people asked felt that nothing would be changed by speaking up. However, when people did raise a concern or complaint, the majority (66 per cent) found their issue was resolved quickly, it helped the service to improve or they were happy with the outcome.

Most people who provided feedback on their care were motivated by a desire to make sure that care improved for others. This included wanting to improve the care they, or a loved one, had received (61 per cent) and improve care for everyone using the service (55 per cent) with a smaller number also hoping for an apology or explanation (26 per cent).

Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive at CQC said the findings demonstrate "that there is still a significant disparity across different groups when it comes to providing feedback about standards of healthcare services." He reiterated that it is "essential" to ensure that everyone feels comfortable raising concerns about standards of care.

Jabeer Butt OBE, Chief Executive at the Race Equality Foundation, has committed to working to 'build trust' in response to the figures. This is especially relevant in light of revelations made during the 'Declare your Care' campaign which showed that almost seven million people who had concerns about their health or social care in England over the past five years, haven’t voiced them.

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