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Epidemiology and policy
P1-219 Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs access to NHS services in Scotland
  1. J G Love1,
  2. K Levecque1,2,
  3. R Van Rossen1,2,
  4. E Ronda1,3
  1. 1Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK
  2. 2Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  3. 3Alicante University, Alicante, Spain

Abstract

Introduction Scotland is a multi-cultural society with 2% of the population made up of people from a minority ethnic background, more than 70% of whom are Asian and from a Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi or other South Asian background. Such a mix of people from minority ethnic backgrounds gives rise to a multitude of different needs and expectations that require to be incorporated within health service planning and delivery.

Objectives Muslims generally experience some of the poorest health in the UK. The present study (2008–2011), funded by the Scottish Health Council, sought to examine, through comparative analysis with Hindus (and a small number of Sikhs), the extent to which NHS services engaged with Muslims.

Methods The research, based on a mixed methods approach combined a survey (n=111) and focus group discussions with Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs living in three of Scotland's major cities: Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow.

Results The study found heightened levels of poor general health coupled with high levels of satisfaction with NHS services among study participants. Making greater use of GP services and similar use of hospital out-patient services, individual factors (eg, knowledge, experience) were positively implicated in service use while organisational factors (eg, waiting lists) inhibit such use. Although most participants did not perceive there to be a problem of religious or ethnic discrimination in the NHS, a fifth disagreed, with Muslims more likely to do so.

Conclusion Improvements are needed to ensure fair and adequate access to healthcare is provided to minority ethnic groups in Scotland.

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