Providing Health Care To A Culturally Diverse Country

2573 words - 10 pages

Britain is regarded as one of the most ethically and culturally diverse countries in Europe. According to the 1999 census around 3 million people in the United Kingdom, which equates to 6% of the population, belong to minority ethnic groups (Le Var 1998). The 2001 census suggests that this figure is now around 7.9%, which equates to 4.6 million (Office for National Statistics 2003).
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
The Department of Health (2004) states valuing diversity within the NHS and determines the importance that health professionals recognize, respect and value difference for the benefit of the organization and its patients.
As we are living in this culturally diverse society it is of extreme importance that healthcare providers deliver appropriate services that are fair, culturally sensitive and are respective of the individual’s culture. This can only truly occur when health care providers understand individual cultures and the needs, values and beliefs of the individuals within them.
This essay will explain the concepts of culture and ethnicity, and it will focus these concepts in relation to the diverse ethnic minority group known as Gypsy Travellers. It will describe how culture and ethnicity can impact on an individual’s health status. It will discuss the importance of Cultural awareness training, transcultural nursing and how it can guide nurses and other health professionals into providing culturally sensitive care.
The Department of Health explains that an “ethnic group” is identified as people who share characteristics such as language, history, culture, upbringing, religion, nationality, geographical and ancestral origins and place.
Culture can be defined as an inherited lens of shared values, ideas, meanings and beliefs through which the members of a society perceive the world they live in (McAvoy and Donaldson 1990).
People from minority ethnic communities often present special health care needs. Disease patterns and presentation of illness amongst ethnic minority groups may be different from the general population
Gypsies and Travellers form rich, varied and diverse communities and include Romany Gypsies, Roma, Scottish Travellers, Welsh Travellers, New Travellers, Bargees or Boat dwellers, Show people and Circus People (Matthews, Z, 2008). For the purpose of this research my...

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