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Race equality and health inequalities: towards more integrated policy and practice

This paper argues that within the English health system the ‘Equality and Diversity’ (E&D) and ‘Health Inequalities’ (HI) agendas remain poorly integrated at both national and local level. In particular, the HI agenda has largely failed to pay explicit attention to axes of inequality other than the socioeconomic gradient. This paper suggests that the disconnect between E&D and HI work hampers progress towards better understanding of the processes that perpetuate poor health outcomes. It also limits coordinated intervention to address need across the health system, including action on the wider determinants of health. The paper is particularly concerned with the slow progress towards tackling ethnic inequalities in health and healthcare, but similar concerns have been voiced in relation to other key axes of difference and disadvantage, not least disability and age (CPA, 2009; Emerson and Baines, 2009).