Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP) and GREC, Survey & Focus groups

To help develop the new ACHSCHP Equality Outcomes, at the end of 2020 research was conducted with 192 people to better understand the health inequalities and challenges impacting people with protected characteristics in Aberdeen. For this, a survey was conducted, as well as discussion groups with community members with all (and sometimes overlapping) protected characteristics.

One of the key findings was that ethnic minority participants had lower rates of satisfaction with health and social care services than the average across participants from all demographics – 36%, compared with 48% on average. 25% were dissatisfied, compared with an average of 14%.

Ethnic minority participants also had slightly lower levels of positive responses to a series of health-related questions. For example, 57% felt they had a good experience with health and social care services, compared with 62% on average, and 27% reported a general good experience with some issues, compared with 18% on average. Only a third of ethnic minority participants felt they could “access the right health and social care services/support that best suited [their] needs,” compared with 40% on average, and a quarter disagreed with the statement, compared with 18% on average. Only one in five felt “informed, supported and involved as I need to be about my care,” compared with an average of double that, and a third disagreed, compared with 17% on average.

In the focus groups and other engagement activities, ethnic minority participants suggested that access to language support is required to improve access and delivery of health services, highlighting that language is one of the key barriers to feeling listened to when accessing these services. They also emphasised that in mental health services, one size does not fit all. Practitioners must be aware of cultural nuances and differences that can affect how mental health conditions are understood, evaluated and treated. This was a particular concern for African communities, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, as it was acknowledged that more people would struggle with isolation but would feel uncomfortable speaking about it or seeking help.

The report also cited research conducted by ACVO in 2020, showing that current service provision in Aberdeen to address domestic abuse does not cater for the intersectional needs of people with disabilities, those from ethnic minority communities, LGBTQ+ communities, men and perpetrators.