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Title: Racism in the National Health Service : A Liverpool profile.
Author: Torkington, Ntomehnhle Protasia Khotie
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 1985
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The main argument of this thesis is that racism exists in the National Health Service and that it is experienced by black people as consumers and as employees of that service. The concept 'racism' has been widely used since the early '70s as describing prejudice allied to the power to perpetuate and institutionalise such prejudice, and there is now a growing awareness of the pervasiveness of racism within British society. But that awareness is not reflected in the kinds of reasons given to explain the experiences of Black people in the National Health Service in particular or within British society in general. The aim of this thesis is to evaluate to what extent such explanations conceal the racism experienced by black people in the National Health Service. Our work has revealed that at the consumer level the cultural framework has been extensively employed to explain conditions such as rickets, infant mortality and mental illness among racial minorities. Such explanations coming, as they do, from professional experts claiming to base their pronouncements on scientific objectivity carry considerable weight and thus support racism. They look back from the present to the historical development (or un- or under-development) of peoples and justify what has sedimented to 'common-sense' which all white Britons have about black people in general. We have argued in this thesis that the cultural issue serves as a decoy away from the central issue of black health provision, namely racism. This racism is again reflected very starkly in the response of the NationalHealth Service to sickle cell disease, a specific condition virtually exclusive to black people. Using Liverpool as an area of reflection we have argued that although social, political and economic factors disadvantage working class communities in both incidence of illness and access to health services, black people are even more disadvantaged because of racism. In the field of employment the traditional image of black nurses as 'immigrants' has persisted and is reflected in cultural explanations for their lack of advancement within the profession. We have argued that such nonadvancement as seen in difficulty of access to qualification and poor chances of promotion has a great deal to do with the fact of being black in a racist institution which does not see blacks as having roles in positions of authority and power. Racism here, however, operates through hidden mechanisms which are used to perpetuate discrimination. Our aim in the . section dealing with this area has been to analyse the ways in which such mechanisms work. Our research has revealed that racism at this level remains for the most part covert, operating through the institutional power conferred on persons In positions of authority. Decisions taken by such persons are not subject to open scrutiny, thus black nurses can be disadvantaged through institutional devices which conceal information
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Racism in Britain Sociology Human services