Health and mental health statistics

These statistics have been collated from a variety of different sources, which have differing ways of categorising and describing ‘race’ and ethnicity. (For example, some sources differentiate between particular black ‘groups’ whilst others do not. Some sources may just use the term Asian, others may differentiate between different Asian groups or different religious groups.) Where we have used other organisations’ statistics, we have followed the categorisation/names used by them – which means that there may be inconsistencies in terminology within and between pages.

Health

BAME groups as a whole are more likely to report ill health, and experience ill health earlier than white British people. Some health variations are linked to poverty and wider social inequalities, although there are a range of inter-linked and overlapping factors.[1]

In 2015, a report by The Traveller Movement noted that Gypsies and Travellers have a life expectancy that is, on average, 10 per cent less than the UK’s settled population. 

The London Health Inequalities Strategy, published in 2009, noted that Bangladeshi and Pakistani Londoners were more likely to report their health as ‘not good’ than other groups.[2]

In 2009, the Department for Communities and Local Government highlighted that the prevalence of certain long-term illnesses and conditions, including depression, asthma and bronchitis, are ‘significant’ for Gypsy and Traveller adults. [3]

A survey of 63 refused asylum seekers in West Yorkshire, in 2010, revealed that 51 per cent of the respondents reported that their physical health had worsened since they had arrived in the UK. Health conditions included respiratory problems, gastric ulcers and muscular pains.

Access to healthcare

Health inequalities are further linked to unequal access to healthcare. Some BAME groups face considerable barriers to healthcare.

In 2009 the Department for Communities and Local Government noted that Gypsies and Travellers face particular difficulties accessing healthcare. Many of them felt that health workers and doctors misunderstood their needs and circumstances. Additionally, Gypsy and Traveller access to healthcare can also difficult if there is an inability to provide proof of identity.

The West Midlands Strategic Health Partnership noted, in 2010, that migrant populations faced significant barriers accessing healthcare including difficulties that were related to registering, contracting and commissioning processes as well as a lack of knowledge about services available. Other common difficulties included poor continuity of care and the experience of not having the same doctor in the practice.

Mental health

A disproportionate number of people admitted as inpatients in mental health services come from BAME groups. In 2010, 23 per cent of inpatient admissions were from a BAME background. According to the mental health organisation ‘Mind’, the admission rate for ‘other black’ groups is six times higher than average, suggesting discrimination within the mental health system.

People from BAME groups are more likely than white British people to be detained compulsorily under mental health legislation or put in seclusion. Research in 2013 indicated that black people detained under mental health legislation are 29 per cent more likely to be forcibly restrained than white patients. They are 50 per cent more likely to be placed in seclusion and more likely to be diagnosed as psychotic.

According to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), BAME groups are disproportionately treated with Compulsory Treatment Orders (CTOs). In 2011/12, the proportion of people given CPOs that were from black or black British communities (15 per cent) was about five times higher than the proportion of  people from those communities in the general population.

According to Black Mental Health UK, people of African or Caribbean descent are 50 per cent more likely to be referred to mental health services via the police than their white counterparts.

For more information see:

The Traveller Movement

Black Mental Health UK

Solace

References: [1]Ethnicity and health (London, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, 2007), p. 1. [2] Greater London Authority, The London Health Inequalities Strategy: draft for public consultation (London, Greater London authority, 2009). [3] Department for Communities and Local Government, Progress report on Gypsy and Traveller policy (London, Department for Communities and Local Government, 2009).