In 2014 Healthwatch Greenwich carried out a piece of work looking at the experiences of the Nepalese community in the Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG). This year, Healthwatch Greenwich revisited the 2014 report and discovered that whilst there has been progress in many areas, there are still significant barriers to accessing health care for some members of the Nepalese community. The objective was to highlight health and social care needs within the community. As the study progressed it became apparent the recently arrived elderly community had the greatest need and faced the most difficult barriers in accessing health and social care services.
Below are the recommendation from our 2014 report with a 2108 update:
- Develop a Nepalese Health Patient Strategy. 2018 UPDATE: No specific strategy has yet been developed.
- Ensure GPs are aware of needs of the Nepalese community and adapt their services accordingly. 2018 UPDATE: Some work has been undertaken to raise awareness amongst GPs of the needs of the community, but there is still some way to go.
- Provide health promotion and information on health services to the Nepalese community. 2018 UPDATE: Some work has happened over the years to raise awareness of some issues, primarily led by local community groups.
- Update the Joint Needs Strategic Assessment (JNSA). 2018 UPDATE: No specific information pertaining to the Nepalese community has been updated in the JSNA.
- Improve living conditions. 2018 UPDATE: RBG has implemented a licensing scheme to better regulate landlords of HMOs and improve living conditions for those living within them.
Following conversations this year with representatives from the local community as well as input from Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Royal Borough of Greenwich public Health, we have made the following additional recommendations:
- The CCG should continue working to overcome barriers to access for the Nepalese community.
- GPs in particular should increase their usage of the available interpreting and translation services.
- The CCG and Public Health should be encourage more regular health check ups amongst the community.
- The CCG should more closely monitor GP registration requirements – specifically where GPs are demanded formal ID or proof of address.
- The CCG and Public Health should carry out a prescription medication awareness campaign to reduce the risk of bringing unprescribed or unlicenced medication into the country.
- Public Health should further develop the Health Coaching and Health Champions programme.
- The CCG and Local Authority should create a shared Community Liaison role to support the Nepalese community.
- All parties should adopt a more consistent approach to the availability and promotion of translation and interpreting services. Healthwatch Greenwich have also discovered several other issues faced by the community, including a lack of awareness of the impact of poor mental health and the mental health services available, as well as poor understanding and sometimes a resistance to acknowledging the impact of substance and alcohol misuse, and other problems such as dementia amongst the community.