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Helping a health and social care system connect with BAME communities

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Helping a health and social care system connect with BAME communities

The review undertaken by Nous has been an invaluable step in understanding the issues in Devon and enabling us to develop a plan to tackle them. It has been a real pleasure working with Nous. The team were really focused on what we wanted to achieve, and worked with this at every stage to ensure our goals were met.
Andrew Millward Director of Communications and Engagement, Integrated Care System Devon

The Integrated Care System for Devon (ICSD) is a partnership of health and social care organisations working together with local communities across Devon to improve people’s health, wellbeing and care.

BAME communities were experiencing healthcare challenges

The ICSD knew from previous consultations that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities were experiencing challenges with healthcare access, participation and outcomes. Nous worked with the ICSD to explore these issues and identify opportunities for improvement.

We partnered with community organisations to reach participants

To understand the opportunities it was essential to tap into the lived experiences of BAME staff and communities in Devon. There were few existing channels to engage people and little data gathered on community and staff experiences.

To expand engagement, Nous collaborated with BAME staff networks and community organisations, including the BAME staff network in hospital trusts and the Plymouth & Devon Race Equality Council. This partnership gave participants essential support, including translation, during the consultations.

In total we engaged 67 BAME participants from across Devon, using individual and group interviews, both in person and online. These engagements were complemented by analysis of local and national data on BAME health inequalities.

Here’s what we found:

  • A lack of data, resources and priorities meant partner organisations had a limited understanding of the experiences of BAME communities.
  • BAME communities and service users face challenges with interpretation, translation and lack of cultural competence when engaging with health services.
  • Many BAME staff regularly experience discrimination, microaggressions and cultural insensitivity.

Nous’ recommendations had immediate impact

We offered system-level recommendations for ICSD and local recommendations for individual partner organisations. They included:

  • strengthening governance and accountability on race equality, including embedding the voice of BAME communities and staff
  • co-designing cultural competency training to help BAME communities to access health and care services
  • implementing good practice in BAME recruitment and support for BAME staff progression.

All recommendations were accepted.

The project improved ICSD’s understanding of the needs of BAME communities and staff, which supported COVID-19 vaccination roll-out efforts in real time.

What you can learn from ICSD

  • Partnering with community organisations and networks is vital when engaging with BAME communities and staff.
  • It is important to centre the voices and experiences of BAME communities while designing service improvements.
  • Listening to marginalised communities can rapidly improve outcomes.

Key people in this project

All people

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