Following concerns about how ethnically diverse communities have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Hertfordshire councillors invited local services and community groups to present evidence on the issues and help identify what further work is needed to improve access and the health outcomes of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups living in Hertfordshire.
What was found
We, along with other voluntary and community sector organisations, provided the following evidence to local councillors:
- Health outcome data for diabetes, mental health and maternity showed a need for urgent, immediate action.
- A lot of services lack the knowledge to address Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups' religious, ethnic and cultural needs which results in unequal care and treatment. Also medical devices and treatments are not always equally effective for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic patients.
- There is a lack of trust amongst ethnically diverse communities toward NHS services. This, along with previous poor experiences, can delay people getting treatment early.
- There are many new interventions and good practices that need to continue and be shared as learning for all.
- A system-wide approach is needed to address ethnic health inequalities.
Councillor Judi Billing MBE, Chairman of the BAME Health Inequalities Topic Group said:
"The existence of inequalities in health outcomes for some of our BAME communities is clearly totally unacceptable, yet they persist.
This scrutiny topic group, with the total commitment of councillors, officers and witnesses, has given us the opportunity to dig deep into some of the reasons for this and come up with some recommendations which will hopefully make a difference.
We will ensure that these receive the attention they deserve, rather than gathering dust on a shelf full of reports."
What happened next
It was agreed that to further build on the examples of good practice and new initiatives that have started to address ethnic health inequalities, the following recommendations need to be taken forward:
- For all health services to review medical devices and treatments to ensure they are suitable and equally effective for BAME communities.
- For mental health services to optimise engagement and improve outcomes for BAME populations.
- For all health services to ensure all women from BAME backgrounds have agency in their health matters.
- For all health services to provide effective support, guidance and signposting to BAME patients with diabetes or those that are pre-diabetic.
- For Health in Hertfordshire to meet the needs of individual and specific BAME communities.
- For Hertfordshire County Council to establish a Topic Group on the experience of, and outcomes of, maternity services for BAME patients.
Services have responded to the recommendations with the actions they will, or have already put in place. The responses can be found here, along with the final report and presentations given.
Are you from a Black, Asian or Arab background?
Help us reduce ethnic health inequalities in Hertfordshire by sharing your experiences with us.
You can get involved by:
- Completing our online survey. Available in 9 different languages.
- Speak to us one-on-one
- Take part in a group discussion on 25th April or 27th April
Interested? Call us on 01707 275978 or email email@example.com
By sharing your views, you are helping local NHS services understand you better and eradicate inequalities in healthcare. Your experiences will inform recommendations made to NHS leaders to assure action.