Discrimination risks and protection against discrimination in healthcare


Current state of knowledge and research needs in the field of anti-discrimination

- Fact sheet on the research project -

The analysis of current research on discrimination in healthcare in Germany shows, discrimination risks exist for all grounds examined regarding the access to as well as the use (diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation) of healthcare services.

Discrimination occurs both as discriminatory behaviour by medical staff and through institutional practices or processes, leading to unequal treatment of specific patient groups. The authors identify the following overarching patterns:

  • discrimination risks due to the healthcare system’s insufficient accessibility (spatial as well as communicative),
  • discrimination risks on the level of communication and interaction,
  • discrimination risks due to lacking expertise and insufficient awareness by the health and nursing care personnel concerning specific needs of certain patient groups,
  • institutional discrimination risks due to standardised procedures and routines and the resulting time and efficiency pressures,
  • insufficient diversity-orientation in the services offered by the healthcare system.