Racial disparity in people raising care concerns

Jabeer Butt, chief executive, Race Equality Foundation

Black and minority ethnic (BME) people are less likely to raise concerns about the standard of care they receive than those from a non-BME background.

Research for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found almost half of BME people with a previous mental health problem (48%) wanted to raise concerns about mental health services. This compared to 13% of non-BME people with a mental health problem.

Additionally, 84% of BME people with a mental health problem wanted to highlight issues or make complaints about the standard of their care more generally, in comparison to 63% of non-BME people with a mental health problem.

Reasons people did not want to feed back the standard of care they received included not knowing who to raise it with (33%) and not wanting to be a ‘troublemaker’ (33%). A third of people (37%) felt that nothing would be changed by speaking up.

When people did raise a concern or complaint, the majority (66%) found their issue was resolved quickly.

The research looked at people in England who have had a health service (NHS and private) or social care experience in the past five years, either as a patient or carer. A total of 2,002 people were surveyed as part of the regulator’s ‘Declare your Care’ campaign.

Ian Trenholm, CQC chief executive, said: ‘These findings demonstrate that there is still a significant disparity across different groups when it comes to providing feedback about standards of healthcare services. It is essential that everyone feels comfortable and confident about raising concerns about their care.’

Jabeer Butt, Race Equality Foundation chief executive, said: ‘We need to work together to build trust, so that when people do want to complain they can do so with confidence that action will be taken. That first step of speaking out can be very difficult, but it is absolutely necessary if we want things to get better.’