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London's social services are failing ethnic minorities, a report by the Association of London Government has warned...
London's social services are failing ethnic minorities, a report by the Association of London Government has warned.

Sick of being excluded is the result of a year-long investigation by the ALG's race, health and social exclusion commission. It questions the ability of both the health and social care sectors to look after the 20% of the capital's population who are black or from ethnic minorities.

It says: 'Many people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds have difficulty getting access to health services. This leads to late diagnosis and late treatment, and in some cases premature death or long-term illness. Failure of health and social care services to understand well-established cultural practices has contributed to the inequality of health outcomes experienced by [these] communities.'

The issue of social exclusion is particularly hitting black and ethnic minority clients because of 'multi-faceted discrimination', it says.

The commission found that a failure to provide translating services and lack of awareness of cultural difficulties contributed to the poor service.

It recognises the high numbers of refugees as well as black and ethnic minority people in London placed 'unique demands on social services in the capital', but councils were not meeting this demand.

Every single black and ethnic minority service user who gave evidence 'had felt discriminated against by the system because of their colour and/or background. [These] people's experience of using social services shows they have unequal access, use services less effectively and are generally less satisfied than white communities'.

Commission chair Stephen Burke said: 'We need to end this kind of racism and discrimination. The report highlights a service failing a high proportion of the people it should serve.'

Sick of being excluded is published by the ALG, tel: 020 7222 7799.

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