Response to the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

NHS Race and Health Observatory

Press release

The NHS Race and Health Observatory is here outlining its initial response to the content and recommendations of the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, published on 31 March 2021. The Observatory plans to conduct a thorough analysis of the health chapter of the report and will be writing a more detailed response in the coming weeks. 

The Observatory believes that tackling persistent ethnic and racial disparities in health, and across society, is absolutely the right thing to do. However, as an evidence-led organisation, the Observatory was disappointed by several of the headline conclusions of the report, including those on the causes of ethnic inequalities. 

The Observatory is an independent expert body, established by the NHS to examine the health inequalities experienced by ethnic minority communities in England. The evidence it cites is clear: institutional racism exists in this country, it exists in the organisations that make up our health and care system, and it exists across wider public establishments.

Several recommendations cited in the report are of particular interest to us, including those recommending work that the Observatory has already started. Over the coming period, the Observatory will be in touch with relevant government departments to discuss these in more detail.

Britain will never be a ‘successful multicultural community’ until it is an equal one. The Observatory has been established to shine a light on discriminatory structures, and to gather evidence to support health and care organisations to rebuild those structures in a way that eradicates, rather than exacerbates, inequality. 

Marie Gabriel CBE                                                   
Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory                            

On behalf of the NHS Race and Health Observatory’s director, Dr Habib Naqvi, and board members:

  • Lord Victor Adebowale
  • Professor John Appleby
  • Dr Halima Begum
  • Professor Kevin Fenton
  • Professor Stephani Hatch
  • Dr Adrian James
  • Dame Donna Kinnair
  • Professor Sir Michael Marmot
  • Patricia Miller
  • Dr Chaand Nagpaul
  • Professor James Nazroo
  • Heather Nelson
  • Professor David Williams

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