Asking someone’s ethnicity is more than just a tick box exercise, it’s vital to how we shape and plan health services at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) in the future, to meet everyone’s needs.
Health Visiting Programme Manager Sonia Hedegaard said: “In health visiting we have been improving how we record ethnicity to help us make sure we provide the right services for our clients and have tailored provision for vulnerable groups.”
Sonia’s team ran a quality improvement (QI) project in 2022 with the aim of increasing ethnicity recording. The project involved speaking with colleagues and organisations KCHFT works with, to discuss what the trust is doing and to explain its importance, reminding practitioners to record ethnicity when first meeting someone new to the service and promoting the use of the Kent and Medway Care Record, so services are able to share information.
The work in health visiting is part of a bigger drive at the trust to tackle health inequalities, making sure KCHFT provides the right care, at the right place, at the right time, for everyone.
Sonia said: “Making sure we are recording a person’s ethnicity helps us to make sure our services are accessible, what we offer is what our clients need and that the services we provide reflects the rich, diverse makeup of our communities”.
The health visiting team ran a quality improvement (QI) project from January to August last year, aiming to increase recording of ethnicity to at least 70 per cent. The service managed to surpass its target, achieving 74 per cent and the improvements made have been sustained. Sonia worked on the project with Adam Wilder, Business Change Manager for Health Visiting.
To help make improvements, the service put changes in place, including:
- asking administrative colleagues to record ethnicity when registering someone new
- reminding practitioners to record ethnicity when first meeting someone new to the service
- stressing the importance of recording ethnicity at training events and to new starters
- encouraging team leaders to give updates on progress at meetings with colleagues
- liaising with partner organisations, including acute trusts, to make changes
- promoting the use of the Kent and Medway Care Record, so services are able to share information.
Sonia added: “It’s important as a service we sustain and improve the recording of ethnicity within our client record system. We are continuing to monitor ethnicity recording and ensuring compliance and buy in from colleagues. Additionally, we are prioritising the recording of all nine protected characteristics identified by the Equality Act, to ensure a unified approach.”