New ethnicity report highlights variation in health outcomes in rheumatology practice

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The report shows a link between ethnicity and health outcomes in people with early inflammatory arthritis in England and Wales.

Dr Kanta Kumar, of the Institute of Clinical Sciences, together with rheumatology teams across the UK, has played a key role in a Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) report, the 'National Early Inflammatory Arthritis Audit', which shows a link between ethnicity and health outcomes in people with early inflammatory arthritis in England and Wales.

Using data collected from over 35,000 patients seen for the first time within specialist rheumatology services between May 2018 and March 2020, the report shows an association between ethnicity, processes of care and health outcomes, highlighting the variation between ethnic groups.

The key findings show that although Black, Asian and ethnic minority patients were younger and more likely to be referred to rheumatology services within three working days, they were less likely to achieve remission at three months and more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depressions.

COVID-19 also shone additional light on inequalities experienced by individuals from Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups, and the report demonstrates the widespread disparities in outcomes experienced in rheumatology care by people from ethnic minority groups. 

Reducing healthcare inequalities is recognised nationally and internationally as a priority; the report adds to the growing body of evidence of inequalities in health care and the recommendations provide key areas of focus.

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