National Voices statement on the Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
Thu, 1 April 2021
As the leading coalition of health and care charities, it is the work of our 170 members that connects us to the experiences of millions of people, covering a diverse range of health conditions and communities. We are deeply troubled by the approach the Commission has adopted and the conclusions it has reached. Like some of our members have done already, we reject the report’s assertion that structural racism isn’t a major driving factor behind racialised disparities blighting health and wellbeing in this country.
Collectively, we have ample evidence about the poorer health status of many Black and Brown communities, and the worse outcomes they often derive from health and care services. The data ranges from maternity services to mental health, and from COVID-19 to pain management. The health service itself has acknowledged that as an employer and service provider it falls short of the standards of equity and inclusion it needs to abide by. The same is far too often true for the sector we work in. Of course, race and other inequalities (such as poverty) intersect - sometimes in toxic ways – but it is simply disingenuous to use this insight to deny the existence of racism.
We need to take the evidence as read, and we need to move on from describing the problem to deploying solutions. In doing so, we need to listen to the experiences of people whose lives are made harder by racism and other inequalities. We do not need to agree on everything, and we can constructively argue about the best strategies for inclusion and equality. But we cannot in good faith deny the facts. National Voices commits to playing our role in leading voluntary and community groups to advocate for and support better health for all.