Background We are receiving 50% fewer clinical referrals from Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in the Leeds 7 and 8 postcode areas compared to LS17. We had insufficient evidence to substantiate the specific needs of local BAME communities. A Third Sector Health Grant funded a research project to understand more fully the issues and barriers around communication and language, culture and religion.
Aims The project aimed to improve the support, access and care provided at a person’s end of life by ensuring that St. Gemma’s services are accessible and culturally appropriate for the BAME communities living in the LS7 and LS8 areas of Leeds.
Methods Developed innovative working relationship with Leeds Involving People (LIP) a service-user led organisation specialising in connecting citizen insight with service redesign. We commissioned LIP to engage with and conduct a survey across BAME community groups to gather quantitative responses and undertake specific focus group work to gain more qualitative responses from harder to reach communities.
Results In total 1012 BAME people were engaged with; 804 completed questionnaires and 208 took part in 11 focus groups.
Conclusions Whilst it was true that there were religious and cultural barriers preventing local BAME communities accessing our services, what proved more prolific was the lack of awareness of the actual services provided. This research contains a wealth of knowledge about the religious needs of the communities engaged with, and suggestions from the actual communities about how they can be met. They acknowledged how we are already meeting their needs in some respects but highlighted that there were some barriers that simply could not be overcome. The key recommendation was the creation of a Steering Group to act as an advisory panel on strategy that guides through the development of culturally accessible service provision and facilitate ongoing relationships and engagement with BAME communities.
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