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 which needs to be considered, however these explanations will be addressed in the second half of this essay. In order to identify ethnic groups, information is gathered from the population through a national survey called a census. According to Gill et al (2002) the question on ethnic groups was only first introduced in the 1991 census. Denny and Earle (2005) mentions that minority ethnic groups’ health statues seems be to worse than the white majority people. This may imply that ethnicity could the cause of poor health. However, they go on stating that ethnicity is not the cause of health statues. This indicates that there may be other elements which influence health experiences and not just ethnicity alone. This supported by relevant literature as Smith et al (2000) highlights that major causes of death such as ischaemic heart disease and lung cancer affect anyone irrespective of their ethnic group.
Looking at ethnic inequalities in health, there was a longitudinal study which was conducted on ethnic differences in general practitioner consultations. This was mainly based on ethnic minorities who live in private households, which excludes the ones who lives in council and housing association properties. The results had...