Patients with blood disorders and cancers who experience health inequalities, have worse outcomes and experiences of care than patients who don’t, an analysis of research has found.

A review of research into the topic was carried out as the first stage of a project focusing on how social and economic factors affect the health of people living with blood disorders and cancer.

The project, commissioned by Bristol Myers Squibb, seeks to understand the experiences and needs of patients from underserved communities when accessing care and how their experiences and outcomes can be improved. 

Underserved communities

Underserved communities are groups of people who are often not represented in governmental or health research.

This literature review highlights the barriers to access and complications faced by people experiencing health disparities, looking specifically at people living with blood cancers and diseases.  The barriers discussed in this literature review focus on social determinants of health.

Social determinants of health are the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. This covers a wide range of areas, such as where the patient lives and their ability to physically access care, as well as access to housing, cultural or ethnic background, and educational background.

Social determinants of health can have a severe impact on a patient and their overall wellbeing, as they can heighten their experiences of health inequities.

Bridge the gap

The ultimate goal of this project is to bridge the gap between social care and healthcare, ultimately reducing health disparities and improving access to quality care for underserved communities. 

That’s why it’s important to understand the barriers faced by patients in underserved communities.

This research provides a basis for the future work in this project, as well as highlighting gaps in research the Patients Association can explore as part of the project.

The next stage will be to carry out the first of three focus groups, with patients living with blood disorders and cancers.

Read the research: Rapid literature review: Examining the impact of health inequalities and social determinants of health on cancer and blood disorder patients in the UK, and opportunities to improve health and care outcomes.

Read more about this project