Headlines: November 21st, 2008

A second wave of Pacesetter schemes has been launched to implement innovative new ways of helping people from marginalized communities cope with diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The overall aim of the programme is to deliver equality and diversity improvements and innovations resulting in patient and user involvement in the design and delivery of services. The programme is designed to reduce health inequalities for patients and service users and to promote working environments that are fair and free of discrimination

Pacesetter trusts in the first wave of the programme worked on testing new ways to improve access to services for vulnerable communities. The range of projects included designing services for deaf communities through the first British Sign Language care plans and improving experiences for people with learning disabilities staying in hospital. Breast screening rates for women with learning disabilities in Walsall were raised to 100 per cent. This compares with a national average of 17 per cent.

Each Pacesetters Trust works on a range of issues based around the six equality strands of age, disability, ethnic group, gender, religion and sexual orientation. The Trust select their local issues, using national and local evidence and local engagement.

Pacesetters is a partnership between the NHS, the Department of Health and local communities who experience health inequalities such as people with disabilities or BME communities.