A fairer Scotland for all: race equality action plan and highlight report 2017-2021

The race equality action plan sets out the key actions for the Scottish Government to drive positive change for minority ethnic communities.

Section 3: Health

The health of people from minority ethnic communities is in some ways better than that of the white population. This is not universally the case, and for some conditions minority ethnic people are disproportionately affected. The Independent Race Equality Adviser notes that there are high rates of coronary artery disease and diabetes among South Asians, for example, as well as low uptake of screening for breast and bowel cancer, late diagnosis of HIV and disparate patterns of psychiatric hospitalisation by ethnic group. Our actions on Health therefore address these inequalities and are aimed at putting in place provisions which, over the longer term, will change these statistics.

Reducing health inequalities is critical to achieving the Scottish Government's aim of making Scotland a better, healthier place for everyone. Health inequalities can be a matter of personal lifestyles such as smoking or lack of physical activity but community, economic, cultural, ethnic and environmental factors are as important. The Scottish Government is committed to reducing health inequalities and will ensure clinicians and care professionals have access to information they need to identify risk factors and to assess performance in reducing inequalities. Specifically, we will ensure that the data collected routinely through health and care information systems is sufficient to achieve this objective for people from minority ethnic communities.

Males and females in most of the larger ethnic minority groups in Scotland have longer life expectancies than the majority White Scottish population.

Source: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2016/07/29/jech-2016-207426.full.

" Reducing health inequalities is critical to achieving the Scottish Government's aim of making Scotland a better, healthier place for everyone." is critical to achieving the Scottish Government's aim of making Scotland a better, healthier place for everyone."


Key Actions

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

We will ensure the development of the national priorities for public health reflect the health inequalities that exist in our minority ethnic communities.

We will carry out a baseline assessment of the sources, quality and completeness of ethnic coding in health and care records and will provide recommendations to Ministers during 2018 for systematic improvement.

We will establish an inequalities network, involving clinical and academic experts from across Scotland as well as organisations such as Cancer Research UK and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. The network will focus on groups where significant health inequalities exist and participation in screening is low; this includes minority ethnic groups, travelling communities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It will oversee the development of a national screening inequalities strategy and will include a 3 year programme of action.

We will develop and implement a Diabetes Prevention Framework to support early identification, diagnosis and treatment of those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This will be published in 2018 and will identify risk assessment tools and outline appropriate interventions to support the prevention of diabetes and its complications. It will be achieved by establishing collaborative and co-ordinated approaches to prevention and early intervention between services, government and the third sector. It will identify ways of engaging with people from hard to reach communities, including minority ethnic communities, and socially deprived backgrounds.

We will consider data and evidence on inequality relevant to diabetes and CVD policy, including the SHELS reports, to support the delivery of the priorities within our Diabetes Improvement Plan and our Heart Disease Improvement Plan (2014) on minimising the impact of inequality.

We will establish an Equality of Access group to drive improvement and address issues around difference in access to services where there is a health inequalities dimension.

We will ensure that the Short Life Working Group on HIV Testing, set up to explore how to improve HIV testing in Scotland, will specifically consider what could be done to increase the uptake of testing among African men living in Scotland, who have been identified as a key target group. Suggested actions will be passed to the NHS Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Executive Leads to consider how services can be improved.

We are working directly with key delivery partners to ensure that people from minority ethnic communities who have lived experience of mental health services are represented at our Bi-annual Forum. The views and input of the Forum will be fundamental in the development of the Mental Health Strategy's first Annual Report to Parliament in 2018 which will include a section on equality, and the experiences of minority ethnic stakeholders will be part of this.

We will increase engagement and participation of minority ethnic communities in the implementation of health and social care processes through funding a key delivery partner to provide guidance and consultancy support to at least 3 Integration Authorities in developing inclusive models of working by November 2018.

We will work with NHSScotland Boards to consider their mainstreaming data in the context of their wider workforce planning, in order to support the engagement and participation of minority ethnic individuals across NHSScotland occupations.

We will work with our delivery partners to actively promote the participation of minority ethnic young people in NHSScotland Boards' youth employment activity, including new employment, work experience, development and training opportunities.

We will consider data and evidence on minority ethnic groups as part of the evaluation of the pre-medical entry programme, forming part of our drive to widen access to medicine.


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