Black Caribbean patients in London more likely to have multiple chronic health conditions, study finds
Black Caribbean patients in South London are far more likely to have multiple chronic health conditions than white patients, a study has found.
Researchers at King’s College London (KCL) supported by Impact on Urban Health found that 47 per cent of Black Caribbean patients had more than two long-term health conditions – compared to just 31 per cent of White British patients.
For the study, experts analysed anonymised data from more than 826,000 patients in Lambeth and Southwark registered at GP practices between 2005 and 2020. Patients who had two or more long-term health conditions were defined as having “multimorbidity”.
Researchers found that black women face the highest inequalities, having twice and in some cases three times the rate of multimorbidity conditions including chronic pain, anxiety, hypertension, osteoarthritis and diabetes when compared to other patient groups.
One patient with diabetes told the study’s authors: “The more stressed you are the more you’ve got physical problems.
“When I get stressed the more I seem out of control. Because if it’s out of control you tend to eat the wrong thing. And then your blood pressure is high also because you’re similarly depressed.”
Researchers found that patients with multiple health conditions used GP services three times as often as patients without a multimorbidity.
Dr Mark Ashworth, Professor of Primary Care from King’s College London, said the findings of the study suggests that the same communities hard hit by Covid-19 “are the same that have experienced “long-term health problems”.
“Many of these conditions are preventable or can be alleviated and controlled using the expertise of local primary care.
“Our team often said that without data, health inequalities are invisible, and that could not be more true when it comes to understanding local multimorbidity patterns.
“Our findings show the value of using locally based community data, derived from anonymised primary care records, which has helped construct a snapshot of the public health of Londoners in Southwark and Lambeth.”
Dr Marina Soley-Bori, a lecturer in Health Economics at KCL, said: “A mental health diagnosis is often a significant driver of primary care use. We found individuals with anxiety and depression accounted for 31 per cent of total primary care consultation costs within the multimorbid population.
“Most notably, we found the trio of anxiety, depression and chronic pain to be the costliest long-term condition combination.”