The NHS, COVID–19 & Lockdown: The Black, Asian, Minoritised Ethnic and Refugee Experience in Brighton & Hove

In July 2020, SIS was involved in a partnership to gather feedback from BAMER people on their experience of Covid-19.

The partnership was led by the Trust for Developing Communities and involved Hangleton & Knoll Project, Voices in Exile, Network of International Women and Fresh Youth Perspectives,

The research was funded by Sussex NHS Commissioners and written by Dr Anusree Biswas Sasidharan.

The report makes an important contribution to a compelling national body of evidence on the disproportionate negative impact of Covid-19 on BAMER people.

Uniquely this research supported a significant number of people with interpreting needs to have a voice. SIS is proud of the part we played in engaging our beneficiaries.

We provide some voices below and thank everyone for their contributions, which we hope will make a difference to improving the situation.

Key Findings:

  • 13% of respondents had had a positive covid-19 test
  • 21% of BAMER key workers in this research felt they were expected to take more risk compared to white colleagues
  • Only 5% of respondents were uncertain about symptoms
  • There were high levels of trust for the NHS (70%) although many had negative experiences (49%)
  • Negative experiences included communication and language difficulties, cancellation of appointments often leading to poor health outcomes and perception of discriminatory treatment
  • Lack of knowledge and information was more likely for those with language needs

You can read the Executive Summary and Full Report here: The NHS, COVID-19 and Lockdown: The Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Refugee Experience in Brighton and Hove
Recommendations from the report to NHS Sussex Commissioners include:

  1. Support and encourage employers to implement Equality Assessment Frameworks for all staff with Protected Characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010.
  2. Provide unambiguous and simple information about the local health context. Clear signalling of messaging and guidelines is needed in a variety of formats. This information needs to be culturally appropriate and translated as reasonably required.
  3. Carry out Equality Impact Assessments on access to healthcare including supporting GP surgeries to target support to vulnerable patients through the Locally Commissioned Service, working with partners on the restore and recover agenda, seeking ways to mitigate the mental health impact of Covid-19.
  4. Fund and sustain approaches to tackling racial inequality
  5. Build closer, collaborative relations with the BAMER communities in Brighton and Hove. Statutory bodies need knowledge of and insight into the communities they serve in order to gain a better understanding of those individuals.
  6. Promote health education by co-producing approaches with BAMER communities
  7. Conduct more analysis of survey data

We will be working with Sussex CCG to `Turn information into action`

“I wasn’t able to book appointments with my GP during lockdown. By not being able to see my GP I wasn’t able to get a mental health medication”.

“The services were good before the lockdown. Now I tried to call my GP surgery and no one answered the phone. It had a big impact on me. I was in stomach pain and tried to call my GP surgery for two weeks. But no one answered the phone. I cannot explain in English. Then my son took me to the hospital and I will have a scan coming next week. Because of language barrier, I cannot communicate to GP nor pharmacy. I will call friends and family for help. I hope the GP surgery is open and when I am not well, I can see my GP.”

“Several appointments has been cancelled due to the lockdown. Several appointments for my back pain and my mental health were changed to phone appointments which are not as effective as face to face appointments”.

“The only way they could help is to help us access GP. We completely lost contact with a doctor. We are getting old so we need it”.

“Services here have so much higher standard that in my country of origin. I’m extremely grateful for all the support they give to me and my daughter. Sometimes you have to wait for the appointment for long time especially, for specialist services. Staff being usually very kind and supportive. Recently, I’ve had only a problem with obtaining interpreting service with my GP”.
A 2-page summary translated version of the report will be available soon.
Vikki Gimson – Quality Assurance Manager & Arran Evans – SIS Director