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Inequalities and Multiple Discrimination in Access to Health

In the European Union context existing legislation on non-discrimination (Equality Directives of 2000 and various directives on equality of men and women) oblige Member States to eliminate inequalities of treatment on grounds of gender, age, race and ethnic origin, religion, disability and sexual orientation. While there is an increasing awareness and knowledge of how single equality grounds impact on (in-) equality in different societal domains, the intersection of different grounds remains little understood, particularly in the area of health care. Against this background, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has launched a study on inequality, multiple and intersectional discrimination in access to health in selected EU Member States (Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden and the UK).

Aim
of the study
• To gain a better understanding of particular vulnerabilities resulting from the intersection of ethnic origin, age and gender in access to health care and quality of care in five EU-Member States (Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden and the UK)
• To formulate recommendations how this situation can be improved.
The empirical research involving more than 300 interviews with health professionals, policy makers and health users is set within a broader analysis of literature, evidence, legal context and mapping of policy initiatives since the 1990s in the 5 Member States and at the EU level.

Target group
Health care users belonging to vulnerable groups at the intersection of gender, age and ethnic origin

Objectives
• Identify barriers of access to health care services (ease with which health care can be obtained; quality of health care service) faced by the target group
• Map the initiatives undertaken by Member States at policy level to enable and improve access to health services and quality of health for the target group
• Identify the ways in which health professionals address the care needs of the target group
Outcomes
• Summary report (mainly targeted at policy makers; it includes evidence-based advice for tackling issues and cases of multiple and intersectional discrimination)
• Comparative report (overview of legal and policy instruments dealing with multiple discrimination across the EU)
• 5 Country thematic fact files including recommendations for good practice and policies applicable in the five countries and more widely in the European Union
• Good practice handbook based on evidence collected through the research (selection of good practices effectively addressing multiple discrimination across the EU)

Project Duration:
2010–2011
Funding: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
Project Coordination: Middlesex University (case study UK)
Project Partners: ICMPD and Research Institute of the Red Cross (case study Austria), Gender Studies o.p.s (case study Czech Republic), Research and Development Centre for Care of Older People (FOU äldre nor, case study Sweden) and University of Bologna (case study Italy) 
Contact: Elisabeth Strasser, Albert Kraler

Publications

Christina Hollomey, Bernhard Perchinig, Edith Enzenhofer (2014): Research Summary - Inequalities and Multiple Discrimination in Access to Health - Austria. Vienna: ICMPD.
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Albert Kraler, Julia Edthofer, Edith Enzenhofer, Bernhard Perchinig (2014): Background Report - Inequalities and Multiple Discrimination in Access to Health in Austria. Vienna: ICMPD and Research Institute of the Red Cross.
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European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2013): Inequalities and multiple discrimination in access to and quality of healthcare. Vienna: FRA.
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