Inequalities and multiple discrimination in access to and quality of healthcare – report published

The European Agency for Fundamental Rights has  published (March 2013) a report on ‘Inequalities and multiple discrimination in access to and quality of healthcare.’ This report looks at how ‘multiple’ discrimination is addressed legally and examines relevant case law with a special focus on healthcare. It also explores health users’ and professionals’ views and experiences on how people of different gender, age, disability and ethnic origin experience discrimination and multiple discrimination when accessing the health system in Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden and the UK.

The report examines some of the practical barriers and experiences of unequal treatment in accessing healthcare that people may face because of a combination of their traits (e.g. ethnic origin, gender, age and disability). The report finds that in such cases, people and their legal advisors often have difficulties in bringing a complaint of discrimination on ‘multiple’ grounds to court. This is either because of a poor understanding of ‘multiple’ discrimination, or because legally it is simply easier to deal with a complaint on only one particular ground. In healthcare, moreover, lawyers often do not file complaints as discrimination cases, due to lower compensation compared to, for example, medical malpractice suits.

These findings will contribute to discussions on the adoption of the proposed EU ‘Horizontal Directive’, legislation that would extend equal protection against discrimination on age, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation to all fields, including healthcare. They will also improve understanding of how ‘multiple’ discrimination is experienced and addressed in policy making, and through complaints procedures.

The research for the report was coordinated by  Professor Eleonore Kofman, Social Policy Research Centre, Middlesex University.  The UK team consisted of Alessio D’Angelo, Dr. Erica Howard, Dr. Mary Tilki, and Dr. Elena Vacchelli from Middlesex University, Dr. Margaret Greenfields (Buckinghamshire New University) and Professor Mark Johnson (De Montfort University, Leicester).

Read more about the research project here. To download the research report, click here.

Social Firms InfoMine launched this week

Social Firms InfoMine is an innovative online diagnostic toolkit designed to find information and resources on the social firm sector and on how to develop a social firm. Social firms are enterprises whose specific purpose is to create quality jobs for people disadvantaged in the labour market.

The toolkit includes an online questionnaire which guides the user through a set of questions, then produces a bespoke report with tailor-made information and links to relevant resources. Registered users can also search the entire resource database.

InfoMine has been developed as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project between Social Firms UK and Middlesex University’s Social Policy Research Centre.

The project team included:

Company Supervisor:                        Di Cunliffe, Social Firms UK
Knowledge Base Supervisor:             Alessio D’Angelo, Middlesex University
Knowledge Base Advisory Team:      Mel Evans, Fergus Lyon, Eleonore Kofman – Middlesex University
KTP Associate:                                  Carly Malling
Project Officer:                                   Magdolna Lőrinc, Middlesex University

For further information about this KTP and to download the project report, click here.

If you want to find out more about the social firm sector and starting, running and growing a social firm, InfoMine is here to help!

Special Issue on Migration, Gender and Religion

  • Guest Editors: Prof. Louise Ryan and Dr. Elena Vacchelli

This special issue on Migration, Gender and Religion builds on a symposium at Middlesex University held in November 2011 to explore comparisons and contrasts across different religious communities ranging from Muslim, Catholic, Pentecostal, Buddhist to Hindu. This collection of articles brings together empirical research from different academic disciplines, including sociology, geography and anthropology and uses a range of methods to engage with and research different migrant groups in particular urban contexts.  While some papers focus on individual case studies to explore the experiences of specific faith groups, others offer a comparative perspective bringing together data from different religions.

Table of contents

  • Louise Ryan and Elena Vacchelli


  • Vivienne Jackson

Intersecting identities creating diverse perceptions and experiences with intimate cross-gender relationships amongst South Asian youth in Canada

  •  Amy Duffuor and Alana Harris

Politics as a vocation: prayer, civic engagement and the gendered re-enchantment of the city

  • Marcos de Araújo Silva and Donizete Rodrigues

Religion, migration, and gender strategies: Brazilian (Catholic and Evangelical) missionaries in Barcelona

  • Jeanne Rey

Mermaids and spirit spouses: rituals as technologies of gender in transnational African Pentecostal spaces

  • Gertrud Hüwelmeier

Buddha in the Bazaar – Vietnamese Migrant Women in Berlin

  • Louise Ryan and Elena Vacchelli

‘Mothering through Islam’: narratives of religious identity in London

8 February 2013 – What do highly skilled French migrants in London teach us about European talent migration?

On Friday 8 February, Dr Jon Mulholland and Prof Louise Ryan will be presenting their ESRC-funded research findings as part of the prestigious Compas Breakfast Briefings series (organised by Oxford University).

At the Breakfast Briefing series COMPAS seeks to make available and discuss topical, cutting edge research on migration and migration related issues.

Venue:    Institute for Strategic Dialogue, 48 Charles Street, London W1J 5EN
Date:       Friday 8 February
Time:       8:30am – 9:45am

If you intend to attend and for further details please click here.

30 January – Migrant and BME organisations in the UK: navigating the perfect storm; Alessio D’ Angelo

  • Wed 30th January (1-2.30pm) Committee Room 1, Town Hall Building

Migrant and Ethnic community organisations are widely recognised as fundamental means of support and integration, particularly for newly arrived migrants and ethnically excluded minorities. As well as providing direct support with tailored services, they act as advocates, increase civic engagement and reduce social isolation. These organisations have been often described as a measure of group-level social capital; a direct expression of collectively expressed and ascribed identity. However, their development is affected by a wide range of factors, particularly the ‘opportunity structure’ of the host country.

For a long time, the migrant and BME sector in the UK had been relatively well established, resourced and effective – especially when compared to other European countries. The last decade, however, has seen the emergence of new challenges. The economic crisis, together with policy changes in a number of areas, have created a sort of ‘perfect storm’ which is jeopardising the existence of the sector as a whole, at least in its traditional form.

Building on a number of projects and initiatives undertaken by the author within the Social Policy Research Centre and the Third Sector Research Centre, this paper presents an overview of the recent history of migrant and BME organisations in Britain, how the sector is changing to react to the UK’s socio-economic and political environment and what possible scenarios lay ahead. It is argued that some of the policy trends affecting the sector are much more far-reaching that they may appear. What is at stake is not just the existence of certain types of organisations, but the whole idea of how diversity is ‘managed’ and how the needs of minority groups are catered for.

If you plan to attend and for further information please contact Dr Elena Vacchelli.
Phone: 020 8411 4103

We look forward to seeing you there!

16th January – Families and Schools Together (FAST): lessons, challenges and prospects; Professor Lynn McDonald

  • Wed 16th January (1-2.30 pm) Committee Room 1, Town Hall Building

FAST (Families and Schools Together) applies ten social science theories into a multi-family group intervention to improve child well-being especially in disadvantaged communities. The average graduation rate per group at a school is now 20 families. In the UK, since 2010 adaptations of FAST have been trained, supervised and evaluated in 150 primary schools across Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England with 80% retention rates of whole families, of whom 80% are living under the poverty line. There are data on social determinants, family functioning, social capital, child mental health, and academic behaviour and competence at Middlesex for over 800 families. Current challenges are scale-up and quality assurance. FAST is on the UN list of 23 evidence based family skills programmes in the world (2010) and has now been implemented in Central Asia and soon in Brazil. Four randomised controlled trials on FAST were completed since 2001, and one almost done used FAST to build social capital with Mexican American immigrants in the southwest USA, and one just funded will use FAST in Philadelphia to build relationships across family, school and community to improve failing schools.  Colleagues and students are welcome to collaborate on research papers and share and analyse the UK data sets available at Middlesex on pre and post FAST. Discussion is encouraged.


If you plan to attend and for further information please contact Dr Elena Vacchelli.
Phone: 020 8411 4103

We look forward to seeing you there!

5th December – Lunchtime Seminar: Bans on the wearing of religious symbols, Dr Erica Howard

  • Wed 5th December (1-2.30pm) Heritage Room, Town Hall Building

Bans on the wearing of religious symbols – especially the Islamic head scarf and face veil – have been enacted in, for example, France and Belgium and are being debated in some other European countries, like the Netherlands. But bans are also being enforced by employers and service providers and in educational establishments at more local levels.
The presentation will start with an analysis of the arguments used for and against legislative bans on the wearing of religious symbols in political and popular debates, in the academic literature and in court cases.  This is followed by a brief discussion of the meaning of the term ‘religion’ and ‘belief’.  The following questions will be examined: are these bans a violation of the human right to freedom of religion and/or of anti-discrimination law?

If you plan to attend and for further information please contact Dr Elena Vacchelli.
Phone: 020 8411 4103

We look forward to seeing you there!

21 November – Lunchtime Seminar: Labour, citizenship and subjectivity: migrants’ struggles within the Italian crisis, Dr Nicola Montagna

  • 1-2.30pm – Committee Room 1, Town Hall Building

The first event of our SPRC Lunchtime Seminar series will take place tomorrow, 21 November at the Town Hall Building. Dr Nicola Montagna will be delivering a seminar which will address Labour, citizenship and subjectivity: migrants’ struggles within the Italian crisis.

If you plan to attend and for further information please contact Dr Elena Vacchelli.
Phone: 020 8411 4103

We look forward to seeing you there!