Ethnic Inequality in Health Care

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The purpose of this essay is to firstly give an overview of the existence of inequalities of health related to ethnicity, by providing some evidence that ethnic inequality in health is a reality in the society and include definitions of keywords. Secondly, I will bring forward arguments for and against on the major sociological explanations (racial discrimination, arefact, access to and quality of care) for the existence of health inequalities related to ethnicity. Thirdly, I would also like to take the knowledge learnt for this topic and brief outline how this may help me in future nursing practice. First of all, it is important to consider the whole aspect of ethnicity as it has other elements such as race and culture which goes along side this concept. Barry and Yuill (2008, p128) both state that ethnicity is “a common cultural heritage that is sociology learned and constructed”. This is what partly defines an individual socially. In terms of race, this is a biological differentiation between people which is determined by their genetic make-up, this differentiation can be based on skin colour or physical differences (Culley and Dyson, 2005). Whereas, according to Kelly and Nazroo (2008, p 161) they state that culture is tied to ethnicity, “it consist of shared experiences, beliefs and values”. This could involve also some sort of guidelines or norms which have been passed on generations. Looking at these three concepts may seem to be straightforward; however, todays healthcare profession seems to be struggling to take on these concepts in order provide “cultural competent care for their patients” (Kelly and Nazroo 2008, p. 159) First of all, there are many issues which influence the ethnic inequalities in health whi... ... middle of paper ... ... [Accessed 6 January 2012] 8. Hilton. C (1996) Collection ethnic group data for inpatients: is it useful? British Medical Journal (clinical research ed.) [pdf] 313 (7062), pp. 923 – 925. Available through: MEDLINE [Accessed 6 January 2012] 9. Kelly, M and Nazroo, J (2008) Ethnicity and health. In Graham, S. ed. Sociology as applied to medicine. 6th ed. London: Saunders, pp. 159 - 175 10. Smith, D et al (2000) Ethnic inequalities in health: A review of UK epidemiological evidence. Critical Public Health. [pdf] 10 (4) pp. 375 – 408. Available through: Taylor and Francis Online [Accessed 28 November 2011] 11. Steinbach, R (2009) Equality, equity and policy [online] Health Knowledge. Available at: [Accessed 3 January 2012]

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