Asylum seekers and refugee engagement

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Blackburn and Darwen examined asylum seeker and refugee’s experiences of using local services and the additional support available to them. The team engaged with service users at the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Drop-in Sessions over two months. Using informal interviews and focus groups, 60 people shared their views and experiences. The feedback revealed that communication was a recurring them. Respondents suggested that there could be better explanation of diagnosis and ensuring that they understand the potential implications from taking medication. Language interpreting often fell to the patient’s children during appointments. In addition, the respondents reported that they would like to have more flexibility of appointments; to have more options with booking GP appointments and more time for children’s appointments. Respondents felt they were not taken seriously by health professionals and that the attitudes of staff could be improved by them introducing themselves to patients and create an environment where patients are comfortable to discuss their mental health. The report made a number of recommendations including complying with guidance to ensure that patients understand the care they require, ensure that GP patients have access to a formal language interpreter and allow patients to make appointments in different ways via telephone or in person. The report also suggested that local services should review their Equality and Diversity training. No service provider response was included in the report.

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General details

Report title 
Asylum seekers and refugee engagement
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 6 January, 2015
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Health inequalities
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Focus group
Unstructured Interview
How was the information collected? 
Engagement Event

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Other population characteristics 
Refugees or asylum seekers
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
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? 

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.