Why does the NHS want to know my ethnic group?

  PalaeoBill 11:57 21 Jul 2009

I have been asked to complete an NHS admission form; one of the questions regards my ethnic group. The form states that the NHS need this information “for the purposes of planning and providing appropriate services. This is to make sure that all sectors of the community have equal access to the services provided”.

Being doubled up and screaming got me access to the services, as it would have to anyone regardless of ethnic group. The only people denied NHS treatment are failed asylum seekers (which is about to change) and I don’t think that stops emergency treatment anyway.

Does anyone know why they want this information? Are specific ethnic groups more prone to particular illnesses?

  canarieslover 12:10 21 Jul 2009

Short answer is yes. Sickle Cell just being one example, mainly Carribean. If they can narrow down the diagnosis they can treat you quicker.

  wiz-king 12:11 21 Jul 2009

"Are specific ethnic groups more prone to particular illnesses?" Yes, eg Afro/Caribbean are much more likely to suffer from sickle cell anaemia.

  anchor 12:13 21 Jul 2009

Tay-Sachs disease is another genetic illness that is more prevalent in the Jewish community. No doubt there are some others.

  HondaMan 12:17 21 Jul 2009

If you are worried, why not ask them?

  spuds 12:34 21 Jul 2009

The request for this information, is as other have suggested, for possible priority of certain procedures.

One thing that as become interesting, is the way that this information is now requested. At once upon a time, certain NHS outlets were making this 'as a requirement' and not a matter of choice. I once took this up with one of our local NHS outlets, and even seeking the 'correct managerial administrator' brought a conflicting view as to the correct legal requirement of providing 'ethnic' or 'other' information. The result of that discussion about wording in particular 'requirement', had to have a complete rethink and reprint of certain forms.

  DieSse 17:51 21 Jul 2009

I think when it comes to treating you, they'll be well aware of your ethnicity and the different likelihood of different diseases. Do you really think they're going to diagnose from the admission form?

It's an information gathering exercise for the sake of producing statistics - nothing more - as there's nothing more they can deduce from such information on an admission form.

Admission to hospital should be on the basis of need - nothing else. To do that they should only need basic identification - ethnicity questions are tantamount to racism.

  shellship 17:54 21 Jul 2009

When I went in recently for a minor op I just left it blank and nobody smacked me for being naughty!

  Forum Editor 19:17 21 Jul 2009

Come on, DieSse, I expect something more sensible from you than that ludicrous statement - I'm not in the least offended when I'm asked for my ethnic origin, I don't feel someone's being racist by asking me.

  spuds 19:38 21 Jul 2009

Perhaps taking this from another point of view. Out local council and Hospital Trust hand out large numbers of correspondence and information leaflets with the proviso that these can be obtained in a vast range of various languages or formats,like Braille, large print or cd/dvd etc. Just ask and 'we will provide'!.

There are quite a community of Irish people living in the city, and quite a number can still speak or understand Gaelic. A friend of mine had an argument with the council a few years ago, because when he asked for a council tax document written in Gaelic, they took exception to the rule, and accused him of being a troublemaker.

You just cannot win!.

  wolfie3000 19:41 21 Jul 2009

Asking what ethnicity you are has nothing to do with racism,
Its like saying if they asked what sex you were, then there being sexist.

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