LAWRS Development and Outreach Coordinator Nahir de la Silva explains how the consortium Diverse Communities Health Voice also indicates that Latin American women in Islington need better quality and gender-specific interpretation services to access healthcare.
Diverse Communities Health Voice, a consortium of ten Islington-based organisations*, has published its findings on research into how ethnic minorities are accessing the NHS: Community research 2016-2017 Black and minority ethnic groups accessing services in Islington.
As a consortium member, LAWRS interviewed 22 Latin American women* within our organisation, with research broken down into five different areas: pharmacies, wellbeing, accident & emergency, interpreting services, and referrals to specialist services.
Our interviews found that women experienced their first barrier when trying to make appointments. Reception staff did not provide appointments due to a lack of language understanding of our service users. We also heard of cases in which staff members would not offer interpreting services, despite the knowing that our users were not comfortable only using English.
This interview-based research has helped LAWRS identify different issues faced by our service users while trying to access the NHS. It is also helping us work with the community and local government to tackle these problems.
At LAWRS we wrote letters addressed to administrative staff from GP clinics asking for appointments and interpreters. We managed to get some much-needed appointments. LAWRS also provided information on services on offer in pharmacies, as well as free sports and wellbeing activities, dentist services, walk-in-centres, and complaint procedures.
Our research has also helped us conclude that language interpreting services need to be improved in Islington, as well as become more culturally and gender secure. We would also appreciate reception staff receiving appropriate Equality and Diversity training.
The final report makes the following recommendations
• To extend GP hours in order to make it possible for people working in different jobs to get appointments
• To promote information about the services available
• To translate this information into key languages to increase uptake
Read the full report here.
*Overall, 207 people were interviewed, across all participant organisations in the consortium. LAWRS has now been a consortium member for two years.
*The ten Islington-based organisations work to listen to and represent members of society that are not being heard by mainstream agencies.