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New post to tackle NHS inequalities

A new post is being created within the NHS to help tackle the problem of inequalities in health and social care delivery.

The equality and human rights director for the NHS has been appointed by NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp to promote the NHS's diversity framework

The first holder of the post will be Surinder Sharma who has around 25 years' experience working on equality and diversity issues in the public, private and voluntary sector.

Health Secretary John Reid said: "We have two aims with this appointment. Firstly, to make sure that appropriate services are available to anyone in the population, regardless of their background."

He added: "Secondly, to ensure that we can draw on the talents, skills and passion of all parts of the community."

The new job will tackle current issues such as why death rates from coronary heart disease among first generation South Asian adults are 50 per higher than average, and why black people are six times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act

Mr Sharma said: "I am very pleased to be joining the Department of Health, and am looking forward to helping tackle the challenges the NHS faces in providing better health services to all people in need."

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