Accessing NHS services: A review of accessing NHS services from Oldham residents with an Eastern European background

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Summary of report content

Between June 2019 and January 2020 Healthwatch Oldham used a survey and interviews to obtain the views of Oldham’s Eastern European community on their experiences of accessing GP and NHS hospital services.

The report found that families highlighted GP waiting times as an issue. Many prefer to bypass primary care in favour of A&E rather than wait for a GP appointment. Many families who did know about alternative urgent care services said they would not use them because of language barriers and the belief that these services do not allow family members to translate. Families highlighted the lack of information and advice about NHS services in key Eastern European languages. Some families also felt that GPs were not very sympathetic and would often send them away with basic pain killers, whereas in other Eastern European countries, antibiotics would be prescribed as a matter of course. Health services in England are organised differently to those in Romania, especially in relation to referrals and specialist clinics. 

Healthwatch Oldham made a number of recommendations relating to information and guidance, digital support, primary care networks, education and awareness raising, language barriers and translation services. 

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General details

Report title 
Accessing NHS services: A review of accessing NHS services from Oldham residents with an Eastern European background
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Oldham
Date of publication 
Monday, 20 July, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 3 June, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 January, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
NHS 111
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Other ethnic group
Specific ethnicity if known 
Any other White background
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.