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BME patients critical of primary care access

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Black and minority ethnic patients a less likely to report a positive experience of the NHS than their white British counterparts according to the findings of joint Department of Health and Healthcare Commission surveys published today.

The results also show that BME groups gave negative responses when asked about access and waiting times for NHS services.

In response to the findings and in a bid to make primary care more 'responsive and accessible' to BME patients health secretary Alan Johnson has announced the creation of a 'national support programme' led by the Department of Health's national director for GP access Dr Michael Warburton. The support programme will work with the NHS and GP practices to improve GP services.

'We recognise…that there are pockets of dissatisfaction [with GP service] where improvements can be achieved, particularly in some BME groups,' Mr Johnson said.

Mr Johnson said that the establishment of 150 new GP-lead health centres and expansion of practice in under-doctored areas would give hard to reach groups extra access to primary care to better meet their needs.

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