More to do to tackle deep-rooted racism, bias and discrimination in health services

01 November 2023

In response to an NHS Race and Health Observatory report Ethnic Inequalities in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said:

"This new report highlights worrying inequalities in access to NHS 'talking therapies' for people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

"It is deeply concerning that poor access to talking therapies and longer waits for assessment are leading to worse outcomes and experiences for people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

"While this research found areas of good practice and some improvements with regards to NHS talking therapies, trust leaders know much more needs to be done to tackle deep-rooted structural racism, bias and discrimination in health services which leads to poorer physical and mental health outcomes for ethnic minority groups and those living in areas of high deprivation.

"The recommendations in this report, which include calls to recruit ethnically diverse therapists, better training for staff and for more local engagement promoting talking therapy services among underserved communities are welcome.

"But it is vital also that we take a long, hard look at the wider factors which can have profound effect on life chances.

"Alongside a sustained focus on supporting local health systems to better address inequalities in access, experience and outcomes of mental healthcare, it is vital that the government takes action on the wider factors that contribute to wider societal inequalities including housing and employment."