Summary of report content
Healthwatch Bromley carried out a research project in the London Borough of Bromley considering the health and social care needs and experiences of seldom heard communities through contacting different faith groups. The aim of the project was to hear experiences of seldom heard faith groups in the London Borough of Bromley and to engage with communities that may not be regular service users. They spoke to 100 people from the Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim faiths.
Some participants that reported barriers in access to services reported issues with access to primary care services. This was associated to consistent difficulties in contacting services and getting an appointment at a convenient time. Participants highlighted the difficulty of getting through on the phone in the morning for a same day appointment. Some also reported highlighted lengthy waiting times to get an appointment.
Personal faith has been described to aid the recovery process of negative health experiences through prayer and social support. It helps individuals to keep positive. Some participants reported how their reliance and faith in God supported their healing and relief from certain symptoms and conditions. Access to wider social contact arising from faith communities supports individuals in dealing with issues related to health is also linked to recovery.
Health professionals such as GPs were described as being understanding of cultural and religious needs by the majority of participants. Some Christians have reported that they are accessing a Christian GP practice which gives them more confidence that their religious needs will be considered. For most of the participants their faith was not recognised as a problem or barrier when accessing health and social care services.
There was an overall consensus that local health services meet all health needs. The Chartwell Unit and the orthopaedic unit at the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) have been highlighted as offering brilliant care. But some participants also commented on the long waiting times for certain operations and the fact that the A&E Service at the PRUH is understaffed which affects the quality of care received.