"Research and statistics have consistently shown that people from most minority ethnic groups have higher rates of abstention and lower rates of consumption than the majority white ethnic group. However, drinking varies greatly both between and within minority ethnic groups and across gender and socio-economic group, resulting in a very complex national picture of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm across ethnicity." [Black and Minority Ethnic Groups and Alcohol - a scoping and consultation study, Thom B, 2010]

Local partners should consider undertaking Equality Impact Assessments against proposed pathways and, as a minimum, aim to ensure that service provision is culturally appropriate for those for whom the pathway is designed. In relation to alcohol it will be particularly important to consider the following:

alcohol use is a taboo in some religious cultures, which may lead to reluctance to discuss, openly recognise or seek help for, alcohol problems; Psychotherapeutic interventions are key for dependent drinkers, however, prevailing attitudes in some cultures may make those in need reluctant to discuss personal issues with someone outwith their religion, family or gender group.

To mitigate these and other potential barriers it will be necessary to consider the appropriateness of services within pathways for particular groups in terms of:

  • cultural appropriateness for the client group - staffing profile and cross-cultural competence of counsellors
  • communication - languages spoken, availability of interpreters, signers, etc
  • physical access to services - both in terms of building accessibility, and geographical proximity to concentrations of target populations.

[Local Routes: Guidance for developing alcohol treatment pathways (opens new window), DH 2009]

The 2010 Equality Act contains revised guidance on EqIA including a breakdown of costs and benefits.

"All new policies and services must be subject to an EqIA Part 1 which requires consideration of whether the new policy or service will have a negative or positive impact on equality." [Thom, B 2010]

The North West Public Health Observatory (NWPHO) publishes alcohol-related hospital admissions data based on HES.

The presentation below provides an overview of this data in 2010.