Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence



  Blackliners is a voluntary organisation and charity, targeting the black and ethnic minority communities in the area of HIV/sexual health prevention and support services. We deliver advocacy/advice services for people living with HIV, support on accessing and living with HIV combination therapy and health promotion projects targeting young people.


  Key concerns regarding the development of public health policy are the following.

    —  HIV/sexual health—We are witnessing substantial increases in the number of people contracting HIV. In addition we are seeing increases in other sexually transmitted infections such as Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. Our rates of teenage pregnancy are the worst in Western Europe. Our target group of ethnic minority communities is over-represented across all of these statistics. Effective targeting and prevention strategies for high-risk groups are needed.

    —  Race equality and health inequalities. The Social Exclusion Unit in their neighbourhood renewal report alluded to the issues of social exclusion and ethnic minorities, who were more likely to live in poor neighbourhoods with all of the negative implications for good health. If health inequalities are to be reduced effectively targeting communities has to be the key. Effectively targeting ethnic communities in the development and implementation of policy needs improvement. The management culture of the NHS can seem to view these issues as peripheral. In London there are serious service implications around access and prevention in targeting ethnic communities.

    —  Health Action Zones—the performance of HAZ's will vary across the country. Unfortunately our experience in London has not been positive. Involving communities and the voluntary sector have been an issue.

    —  PCG, PCT's & Care Trusts—as a Non-Executive Director of a London community health trust the reconfiguring of health care delivery at a district/local level seems to be confused. I believe the amalgamation of health and social care community services into local care trusts, jointly managed by local authorities and the NHS should be the way forward. However in the district that my community trust serves we are facing the splitting off of mental health services into a large mental health trust. There would seem to be issues of service focus and local delivery competing with one another.
January 2001

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