In a health community outreach project during the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey and series of discussions were held between March and July 2021, with 87 ethnic minority community members and health champions from 17 different nationalities/ethnicities. The main questions addressed access to health services, participation in engagement activities, and vaccine hesitancy.
Survey results showed that 17% of participants felt that accessing health and social care services was ‘Difficult’ or ‘Very difficult’. To improve access, participants suggested enhancing flexibility in service provision, including more flexibility in the hours the services are provided (including weekends), how appointments are scheduled and carried out (in-person, by phone, online or by video), and flexibility in the services offered in rural localities to avoid travelling long distances.
Overall, 9% of participants were dissatisfied with the health and social care services they received, and 17% did not feel well informed about these services. 21% felt their community does not get the support and information it needs to be a safe and healthy place, and 21% felt they cannot make a valuable contribution towards decisions in their local area regarding health and social care services. Around 80% of participants were either unaware or unsure of the opportunities available to participate in improving health and social care services, and they proposed providing more information and flexible ways to engage, which would increase participation.