Headlines: January 31st, 2000

Measures to ensure that the NHS gives full consideration to the health needs of people from all ethnic communities have been announced.They follow the announcement by the Home Office that race discrimination, both direct and indirect, are to be outlawed by statute across the public sector. (See Publicnet of Friday, January 28, 2000)

The new measures are informed by a study by Ziggi Alexander, an independent researcher who is also chair of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work and a member of the NHS Chief Executives’ Development Strategy Group.

The study looked at all aspects of the work of the Department of Health, including policy development, NHS and social care service delivery and workforce issues.

Specific measures to integrate race issues into mainstream work include the:

– development plans for general practices which will include assessment of whether practices the needs of local patients, including black and minority ethnic communities, are being met

– ensuring that National Service Frameworks make explicit that the needs of black and minority ethnic groups must be addressed

– initiatives through NHS Direct, the nurse-led telephone advice line, to define the needs of local black and minority ethnic communities and develop awareness of the service. (Work is underway to monitor the use of NHS Direct by ethnic group and by preferred language choice)

– ensuring that there is a clear understanding of the needs of minority ethnic populations built into all leadership and management development programmes.