Snapshot study: Feedback Forums with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities in Lewisham during COVID-19Download (PDF 155KB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Lewisham held Feedback Forums aiming to understand the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in Lewisham during COVID-19. Carried out in June and July 2020, the four engagement sessions focused on a number of themes including access, communication and impact on mental health and emotional well-being.
Healthwatch Lewisham made a wide range of findings across these topics. Concerns on access centred on staff training, staff attitudes, language barriers, privacy and confidentiality, health concerns. Concerns included that when triage is completed by receptionists, their lack of clinical expertise might cause them to not recognise concerns which would otherwise be seen as a priority to clinicians and a lack of culturally appropriate services and staff training for stigmatised conditions such as HIV. Concerns about communication and information focussed on access to technology, lack of information and complex language. Such as, people finding online GP systems difficult to navigate, especially for those not digitally confident or who don’t have written and spoken English. Finally, there were concerns over access to mental health support especially during COVID-19.
Healthwatch Lewisham made the recommendation that public facing information should be provided on the following topics: the digital triage model with a focus on the role of receptionists, what health services are available during the COVID-19 training, how services are supporting residents who are digitally excluded either due to technology or language barriers, access to mental health support, local bereavement support, shielding eligibility, translation services on the NHS app. They also recommended that there should be investment by health services to provide culturally appropriate services and the offer of a borough wide training programme to support staff engage with patients with stigmatised conditions such as HIV. Finally, they recommended further engagement with Lewisham’s BAME communities to understand their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.