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Helping the Somali Community get the support they need

25/05/16

With a diverse population, it is important that local health and care services understand the needs of every section of their community. Read one example of how local Healthwatch is helping this to happen.

We spoke to Healthwatch Ealing to find out more.

People in the Somali community find it difficult to access services

We spoke to representatives of the Somali community, who told us there are not enough Somali community groups to support and care for them in the borough. As a result, people with limited English find it difficult to access health and care services. Those who are Deaf or who have hearing loss find it even harder to get the support they need.

Understanding barriers

We collected the views of the people who use these services and support workers to understand the barriers to accessing health and care services. We found that:

  • More than half of the respondents said that language was the number one barrier to access.
  • Almost 63% of the people we spoke to found booking an interpreter very difficult.
  • Damp, overcrowding and harsh living environments have led to children in the community feeling frequently unwell.
  • Due to budget cuts, the closure of Somali organisations has had a negative effect on the community. The pressure on the remaining organisations has increased, resulting in longer waiting times to get help.
  • 80% of people told us they have never complained, despite being poorly treated.

 Related items


Highlighting the gap in care

Using the views we collected from the Somali community, we wrote in collaboration with a Somali community organisation, a report to highlight the gap in care for local Somali people. We included a number of recommendations, such as involving Somali people in health and care decision making, overcoming language barriers and improving the relationship between GPs and local people. 

Giving people a chance to have their say

Our report has been welcomed by a number of local health and social care commissioners. We’re looking forward to receiving feedback from these groups to ensure the needs of the Somali Community are addressed. 

The report was timely, as the Somali community groups have planned an event this summer, to bring local Somali people together with those who commission services. This will give Somali people a chance to help ensure their health needs are understood and addressed.

Read Healthwatch Ealing's report

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