Some of the views shared correspond to those shared in Public Health England’s Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 report earlier this month. That report recognised the complex web of social, systemic, and medical factors that disproportionately impact the UK’s BAME and migrant communities. We understand that the concerns which our study and survey participants have raised with us are set against this backdrop, and we endeavour to keep their voices at the centre of ongoing discussions about health and social care.
As an organisation that works in two of the most diverse boroughs in the country, we understand the importance of making sure that the views of all of our local NHS service users are represented in our work. This project not only provided us with important insights into how local BAME service users 1. view their local primary care services and 2. thought that their communities’ health and wellbeing could be improved, but it also served as a pilot scheme for further work with BAME community groups.
Since this research was conducted we have:
- Launched our Small Grant project, which awarded some funding to small, community interest organisations to conduct their own focus groups, and to share their findings with us.
- Extended the funding for each group, so that they could collect additional research on their group’s experiences of the COVID-19 outbreak and response (results from these sessions are forthcoming).
- Shared our Your Experience Matters survey, and analysed the results that came from people identifying as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic. You can view a preview of the results here, and further results will be shared over the coming weeks.
Our study’s participants:
The respondents were from Eritrea, Bangladesh, Iran, Sudan, Kurdistan, Uganda, Malaysia, Somalia, Palestine, and the Seychelles. They attended in six focus groups:
- Iranian Association
- Marylebone Bangladesh Society
- People Arise Now
- Migrants Organise
- MEWSo (Middle Eastern Women’s Society)
- Eritrean Elders Welfare Association
Our study’s key findings:
- Every group reported difficulties with booking systems, particularly with waiting times and with attempting to book over the phone. 55% of the respondents preferred to walk to a GP or urgent treatment centre rather than find help online or over the phone.
- Half of the groups felt constrained by the length of GP appointments, citing difficulties with language barriers and with accessing interpreters as reasons for needing more time.
- Every group cited nutrition and mental health as their top health concerns.