High quality healthcare commissioning: Why race equality must be at its heart

Author(s): Sarah Salway;   Daniel Turner;   Ghazala Mir;   Lynne Carter;   John Skinner;   Bushara Bostan;   Kate Gerrish;   George Ellison;  

Corporate author: EEIC

Briefing series: Better Health Briefing Paper 27

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: March 2013

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     High quality healthcare commissioning: Why race equality must be at its heart
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Healthcare commissioning - the strategic purchase of health services to meet the needs of local populations - has the potential to tackle ethnic inequalities in access, experiences and outcomes. However, a number of factors have hampered progress, including a lack of clear guidance on the expected standards of service provision or appropriate commissioning responses; inadequate skills and resources; and a failure to performance monitor or incentivise progress.  This paper, the first in a series of two, considers factors for a more enabling strategic environment including strong leadership, a diverse workforce, effective partnership working, meaningful engagement of local black and minority ethnic communities, and a reflective, learning culture.

Key messages:

  • Healthcare commissioning - the process through which health services are strategically purchased to meet the needs of local populations - has the potential to tackle inequalities in access, experiences and outcomes between ethnic groups
  • To-date, healthcare commissioning has largely failed to mainstream attention to ethnic diversity and inequality or to leverage significant improvements for minority ethnic patients and populations. As such, commissioning organisations may be failing in their legal duties. Progress is hampered by national and local policy contexts that fail to provide clear guidance on what standards of service provision are expected or what commissioning responses are appropriate, ensure adequate skills and resource, performance monitor or incentivise progress 
  • Rather than being dealt with as a marginal agenda, commissioning organisations must understand and address ethnic inequalities as part of their core responsibilities, and exploit synergies with other key policy agendas, including Quality, Efficiency and Health Inequalities
  • Strong leadership, a diverse workforce, effective partnership working, meaningful engagement of local black and minority ethnic communities, and a reflective, learning culture, could help to create more enabling strategic environments
  • Effective generation and use of evidence and knowledge is needed to raise awareness of the scale and nature of ethnic inequalities and to challenge and support key actors to find viable solutions.

Sections:

  • What is healthcare commissioning? Why is commissioning key to reducing ethnic inequalities in healthcare access, experiences and outcomes?
  • A failure to commission for multi-ethnic populations
  • Aligning race equality with other drivers
  • Putting race equality at the heart of commissioning: creating a strategic, enabling environment