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BACKGROUND: As part of a national programme to tackle ethnic inequalities, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of research on ethnic inequalities in pathways to care for adults with psychosis living in England and/or Wales. METHODS: Nine databases were searched from inception to 03.07.17 for previous systematic reviews, including forward and backward citation tracking and a PROSPERO search to identify ongoing reviews. We then carried forward relevant primary studies from included reviews (with the latest meta-analyses reporting on research up to 2012), supplemented by a search on 18.10.17 in MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO and CINAHL for primary studies between 2012 and 2017 that had not been covered by previous meta-analyses. RESULTS: Forty studies, all conducted in England, were included for our updated meta-analyses on pathways to care. Relative to the White reference group, elevated rates of civil detentions were found for Black Caribbean (OR = 3.43, 95% CI = 2.68 to 4.40, n = 18), Black African (OR = 3.11, 95% CI = 2.40 to 4.02, n = 6), and South Asian patients (OR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.12, n = 10). Analyses of each Mental Health Act section revealed significantly higher rates for Black people under (civil) Section 2 (OR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.11 to 2.11, n = 3). Rates in repeat admissions were significantly higher than in first admission for South Asian patients (between-group difference p < 0.01). Some ethnic groups had more police contact (Black African OR = 3.60, 95% CI = 2.15 to 6.05, n = 2; Black Caribbean OR = 2.64, 95% CI = 1.88 to 3.72, n = 8) and criminal justice system involvement (Black Caribbean OR = 2.76, 95% CI = 2.02 to 3.78, n = 5; Black African OR = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.32 to 2.78, n = 3). The White Other patients also showed greater police and criminal justice system involvement than White British patients (OR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.03 to 2.15, n = 4). General practitioner involvement was less likely for Black than the White reference group. No significant variations over time were found across all the main outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Our updated meta-analyses reveal persisting but not significantly worsening patterns of ethnic inequalities in pathways to psychiatric care, particularly affecting Black groups. This provides a comprehensive evidence base from which to inform policy and practice amidst a prospective Mental Health Act reform. TRIAL REGISTRATION: CRD42017071663.

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Ethnicity, Meta-analysis, Pathways to care, Psychosis, Severe mental illness, Systematic review, Adult, African Continental Ancestry Group, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, England, Ethnic Groups, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Healthcare Disparities, Humans, Prospective Studies, Psychotic Disorders, Socioeconomic Factors, Wales