Guest blog: PCRs and the ‘ethnicity code’

Clinical   kit pic

Southend Student Paramedic Ben Mudd, tells us why the ‘ethnicity code’ section on the patient care record (PCR) is so important…..

I’ve been asked to write something about equality, diversity & inclusivity (EDI) specifically on an issue that interests me.  The problem is I’m a first year SAP, so practically everything interests me at the moment!

To say I have been on a steep learning curve is a bit of an understatement. I have learnt that my paramedic is grumpy until the first coffee of the shift is at least half consumed, that I do the dishes in the sink, that the sick bowls and ‘inco’ pads are well stocked and of course lots of clinical stuff too!

I admit though, that I never learnt why we fill out the ‘ethnicity code’ section on the PCR, until just recently.

You probably already know this but section 4.0 of EEAST Patient Care Record Policy (Jan 2015) states that the PCR will “be written so as to be compliant with the Race Relations Act…”.

Now the Public Sector Equality Duty 2011 requires us to have due regard to the needs to  eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities.  The specific duty requires public bodies to publish relevant stats and, in this case, on race.

See where I’m going with this?

If you were to look up, as I did,, pick the July results and scroll down to page 16, you will see the responses grouped per demographic and protected characteristic.  This means we can tell pretty quickly whether or not we are indeed serving the whole community equally.  And that is the bit that really interests me.

Although the codes we use may be a bit limited for clinical significance, they do help to build up evidence that we attend to patients with no racial bias. And given the right research parameters, they may even help to identify trends in outcomes from healthcare provision related to ethnic grouping.

So the next time you’re wondering why that box matters, remember, its data that we measure and are measured for in order to prove what a great job we do for everybody. Its Trust policy and it’s the law.

Published 25th October, 2016

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