Vascular dementia inequalities for Lambeth’s Black communities

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Summary of report content

In October2020, HW Lambeth held an online event with South London and Maudsley Trust (SLaM) and Black Thrive for local people to explore the inequalities linked to vascular dementia experienced by Lambeth’s Black communities.

SLaM has identified that local people of African and Caribbean heritage:

  • risk developing the disease up to 10 years earlier than other people
  • are diagnosed at a later stage compared with other people
  • may encounter cultural bias in the diagnostic tools which could delay their diagnosis further.

The event also included a live play about a Caribbean family’s different responses to a family member experiencing memory problems and confusion.  The play, commissioned by Healthwatch Lambeth, was developed and performed by local community members.

Over 50 people attended the event and around 30 people were involved in the drama project. Through these activities HW Lambeth learnt:

  • Awareness levels: most participants knew something about vascular dementia, but few were aware of the associated inequalities faced by people of African and Caribbean heritage.
  • Reasons for late diagnosis: continuity of care is important, as is having trusted relationships with GPs. Some participants felt that their experiences of GPs being slow or reluctant to make referrals may point to unconscious bias.
  • Grouping the memory service with other mental health services (either through shared physical location or branding) may create a barrier for some members of the Black community because of the wider mistrust of mental health provision linked to related systemic inequalities.
  • The impact of structural racism on stress levels and other long-term health conditions within the Black community must be acknowledged when exploring solutions.

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General details

Report title 
Vascular dementia inequalities for Lambeth’s Black communities
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Lambeth
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 13 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 October, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 1 October, 2020
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Health inequalities
Public involvement
Staff attitudes

Methodology and approach

If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
South London and Maudsley Trust (SLaM) and Black Thrive
Primary research method used 
Engagement event

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

Details of people who shared their views

Black/ African / Caribbean / Black British
Does the information include public's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

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.