The effect of COVID-19 on Seldom Heard Communities in Brent

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Summary of report content

During June – September 2020 Healthwatch Brent carried out extensive community engagement, contacting, sourcing, listening and speaking to our residents about their experience of information, support and services subsequent to the first wave of COVID-19. They spoke to over 1,000 peoples with a focus on residents that were from hard to reach communities. This included the Sickle Cell community, South Asian people with HIV and, persons with complex learning difficulties.  They undertook this engagement as the COVID-19 BAME Public Health England report highlighted the direct effect of COVID-19 on Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) populations, and because Brent has been particularly badly hit by the pandemic and over 60% of its population come from minority ethnic backgrounds. 

People wanted information in easy-read and community languages and asked that translated information to be made available to key community leaders for dissemination. Many were unable to access services and felt left out of council updates, due to a lack of digital resources. Some members of the BAME community – particularly those with language barriers, mental health difficulties and mobility issues – fear they are being ignored and excluded from communications and interventions ● There are growing sentiments of mistrust with central services and therapies such as flu vaccines stemming from ‘confusing’ COVID-19 communication.

People praised local pharmacies who can give a more hands on approach to residents and Brent Council for the walk-in testing centre in Harlesden which they found convenient and easy to navigate. People with learning disabilities noted delays to receiving COVID-19 test results and experienced difficulty using self-administered test kits. Some people experienced food poverty and economic poverty and were worried about the future.

The report concludes with recommendations aimed at addressing the issues identified in the research.

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General details

Report title 
The effect of COVID-19 on Seldom Heard Communities in Brent
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Brent
Date of publication 
Thursday, 26 November, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 June, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 30 September, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Holistic support
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Other information of note about this report 
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

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

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Other population characteristics 
People who live in poverty
Refugees or asylum seekers
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? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
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? 
Not known

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.