New research in Bradford has highlighted disparities in end-of-life care for minority ethnic groups. 

It's hoped the report by the Bradford Institute for Health Research will spark more conversations within healthcare and communities about palliative care. 

The paper has been published by senior research fellow Shahid Islam, lead researcher Dr Rachael Moss, and co-author Dr Jamilla Hussain, who is a consultant in palliative medicine. 

Dr Hussain said: “National data around end-of-life care has shown that people from minoritised ethnic communities are less likely to access palliative care services and when they do their experience is not always as good as those from a White British background.”

She said there is still room for improvement despite several initiatives. 

Dr Hussain added: “This study found that there is more work to do to support genuine partnership between community and service providers to get Bradford 'ready' to support good end-of-life care for those of us from the South Asian community.”

The researchers also found the level of readiness of the healthcare system was limited – the system was found to focus heavily on the medical side of end of life, to have a limited understanding of what people see as a ‘good’ death and have poor integration with the voluntary and community services in the community. 

Dr Deborah Penfold, clinical lead for palliative and end of life care at Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, said: “We read with interest the findings from this research and want to assure all communities that we are already taking action to reduce the inequalities highlighted in this report and through work we’ve done locally.”

Dr Penfold shared how NHS teams in Bradford have been rolling out cultural competency training across sectors and organisations; set up the 24/7 telephone support line Goldline which is available for all patients thought to be in their last year of life, and testing and evaluating a number of projects which provide opportunities for staff to attend specific training. 

The training includes how to identify sensitivities around end of life care, supporting patients to have difficult conversations, and providing holistic and tailored interventions to patients with complex care needs.

Dr Penfold added: “If you or a loved one think you might be eligible for end of life support you can discuss this with the team looking after you, such as your GP practice, hospital specialist team, community matron or district nurse.”

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