Racism complaints in the Australian health system: An overview of existing approaches and some recommendations

Mandy Truong, Dominique Allen, Jocelyn Chan, Yin Paradies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

Abstract

Patients from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds can experience racism and race-based discrimination in the health system, enduring unfair and inferior treatment that negatively affects physical and mental health and well-being and may, in some cases, lead to premature and avoidable death. Racism within the health system also acts as a deterrent to health care access because individuals may choose to avoid healthcare settings for fear of repeated exposure to racism. Racism and its impacts in health are well documented and health care-related regulatory organisations and antidiscrimination commissions in Australia are the recipients of racism complaints that occur within the health system. However, the extent and nature of complaints of racism in healthcare settings (i.e. self-reported incidents of racism) and how they are managed by regulatory organisations and antidiscrimination commissions are not well understood. This paper provides a summary of existing approaches to complaints in the Australian health system related to healthcare regulatory organisations and antidiscrimination commissions. We offer recommendations for improvements to data collection and dissemination of racism complaints to better understand the nature and extent of racism and race-based discrimination in the health system, and thus inform changes to process and practices that will reduce the incidence of racism and improve health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Health Review
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • antidiscrimination
  • complaints
  • health care
  • health regulation
  • health service
  • health system
  • institutional racism
  • racism

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