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The politics of difference? Providing a cancer genetics service in a culturally and linguistically diverse society

This paper explores how healthcare agencies can better meet the needs of culturally diverse populations, by discussing the policy and practice relevance of a project designed to evaluate a pilot cancer genetics service based in the UK. The purpose of the service was to offer non-directive, trans-cultural genetic counselling as ameans of facilitating informed choice among ethnic-minority populations. The evaluation, using qualitative interviews among potential and actual service users from South Asian and majority white populations who had a diagnosis of  cancer, explored the accessibility and appropriateness of the newly established pilot service. The findings demonstrated that services can offer care that is sensitive to the needs of diverse populations.  However, access remained a problem, and the appropriateness of a service did not necessarily  facilitate improved outcomes. Focusing on the dynamics of service delivery is therefore as important as exploring the experiences of those who receive health and social care. In this way we can provide the foundations for more successful  nterventions.

Author(s): Karl Atkin, Nasreen Ali, Carol E Chu

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