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Nursing to bridge the gap: addressing healthcare inequalities in access to innovative treatments and diagnostic tools

21 March 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 6

Each day, nurses are exposed to the realities of the impact of inequalities on health outcomes. Primary care and community nurses are central to the functioning of community-based care and understand that certain patients are more susceptible to poorer health outcomes due to various factors such as socioeconomic, ethnic or sexual characteristics (Mabhala, 2015).

Healthcare inequalities describe the challenges with accessing quality care for deprived and underserved communities. They are distinguishable from health inequalities, which involve individual factors such as housing, income, ethnicity or sexual orientation (Waterall et al, 2022), whereas these are related to accessibility and equity of care provision. For example, service availability, opening times, languages spoken, literacy and fear are all drivers of healthcare inequality (NHS England, 2024a). Nurses need to be aware of the issues facing their populations and their ability to access preventative, diagnostic and curative services.

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