Racism in healthcare makes Indigenous people more likely to end up in the ER

Feb 4 2021, 7:30 pm

A new report on racism in BC’s healthcare system has found that Indigenous people in BC are more likely to end up in hospital emergency rooms because of limited access to family doctors.

In Plain Sight, a data report by independent reviewer Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, suggests lack of access to preventative and primary health care means worse health outcomes for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people.

When they do get medical care, it’s “skewed towards emergency and specialized treatment,” Turpel-Lafond said. “Indigenous peoples have substantially less access to physician services and less attachment to primary care practitioners.”

Combined with anti-Indigenous racism in healthcare settings, “it’s not difficult to see why health outcomes for Indigenous peoples are poorer,” she said.

This new data follows an initial report Turpel-Lafond released that found 84% of Indigenous people surveyed had experienced racism while seeking healthcare in BC.

“Racism is toxic for people, and it is toxic for care,” BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix said.

Turpel-Lafond said the data calls BC to work immediately to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against Indigenous people within the healthcare field.

She’s also suggesting an Indigenous health advocate’s office be created and wants the healthcare complaints system improved.

Learn more about the findings by reading the complete report.

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