Ethnicity recording report cover

The Race Equality Foundation was been commissioned by the Wellcome Trust to undertake engagement work with Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, as well as healthcare professionals, in order to gain a better insight into the collection of data on ethnicity.

Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated a disproportionate impact in terms of deaths and infection on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, there have been problems identified with the accuracy or completeness of the recording of ethnicity. Alongside this, there are wider public debates on the collective terms used to describe communities who experience racism.

Often, one individual can be recorded as a differing ethnic group between different health related data sets. As well as this, there are many individuals who are simply coded as ‘Other’. Questions have been raised surrounding the consistency and completeness of ethnicity data sets, as the compromised quality of ethnic data undermines what the data can be used for.

Through working directly with communities and people tasked with recording ethnicity, this project aims to explore how individuals are asked about their ethnicity and how this is in turn recorded. We hope to gain a greater understanding about the experience of ethnicity recording for both patients and healthcare practitioners and use this information to produce solutions to improve the quality of ethnicity recording and contribute to addressing health inequalities.

Both the Foundation andd the Office for National Statistics were funded by the Wellcome Trust to undertake different aspects of research on ethnicity recording, report Improving the recording of ethnicity in health datasets was published in January 2023.

To mark the launch of the report, we held a webinar on the 31st of January 2023, How can we improve the recording of ethnicity in health settings? At this webinar attendees heard key messages from the research about the recording of ethnicity, listened to examples of better practice in recording ethnicity data, and given suggestions of how to improve the recording of ethnicity in healthcare datasets.

The webinar was an opportunity to contribute to a discussion on the collection and use of ethnicity data to address health inequalities. We heard from several key speakers:

  • Jabeer Butt OBE, Chief Executive Officer – Race Equality Foundation
    • Webinar Chair – overview of the Race Equality Foundation
  • Dr Bilal A. Matten, Senior Manager, Digital Technology & Clinical Technology Lead – Wellcome Trust
    • Improving patient data programme

For further information about this project, please contact Tracey Bignall, Senior Policy & Practice Officer, Race Equality Foundation