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Objective: Racism may affect health through differential access to, and quality of, healthcare. This study examined associations between experience of racism and unmet need and satisfaction with healthcare.
Methods: Cross‐sectional analysis of the 2011/12 adult New Zealand Health Survey (n=12,596) was undertaken. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between experience of racism (by a health professional and other experiences of racism [ever]) and unmet need for a general practitioner and satisfaction with a usual medical centre in the past year.
Results: Experience of racism by a health professional and other forms of racism were higher among Māori, Pacific and Asian groups compared to European/Other. Both racism measures were associated with higher unmet need (health professional racism adjusted OR 3.52, 95%CI 2.42–5.11; other racism OR 2.21, 95%CI 1.78–2.75) and lower satisfaction with a usual medical centre (health professional racism adjusted OR 0.25, 95%CI 0.15–0.34; other racism OR 0.60, 95%CI 0.45–0.79).
Conclusions: Racism may act as a barrier to, and influence the quality of, healthcare.
Implications for public health: Addressing racism as a public health issue and major driver of inequities in healthcare and health outcomes is required within the health sector and wider society.