Ethnicity data collection in the UK: The healthcare professional's perspective

Gulnaz Iqbal, Mark R.D. Johnson, Ala Szczepura, Anil Gumber, Sue Wilson, Janet A. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


The collection of ethnicity data has been demonstrated to be important in healthcare. However, despite recent efforts by the UK government, it remains incomplete and unvalidated. In order to be able to assess inequalities and target resources appropriately, it is essential to have complete and accurate data. This paper examines the reasons for the gaps in ethnicity data based on the perceptions and experiences of the healthcare professionals who are charged with collecting these data. A questionnaire was used to assess perceptions of ethnicity data collection, including any barriers encountered as well as the perceived importance of collecting these data.Respondents were askedwhether routine ethnicity data collectionwas limited to specific disease areas, and approximatelywhat proportion was complete in these areas. There were also questions concerning preferred methods of collection (e.g. self-report). The questionnairewas completed by 30 respondents, who included healthcare managers, clinicians, nurses and other staff working in the healthcare setting. The findings confirmed that the collection of patients' ethnicity data is deemed important by the healthcare professionals, but showed that there remains uncertainty and unease as to how best to collect these data or how to explain to patients how the data will be used. The majority of healthcare professionals agreed that it was important to record patients' ethnicity, but no clear rationale was given to staff about the use of these data, and no training was provided on the best way to collect the data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-290
Number of pages10
JournalDiversity and Equality in Health and Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Data collection
  • Ethnicity
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Perspectives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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