‘Asian women in Oxford facing barriers to see their GP’
ASIAN women in Oxford face too many barriers to access their GPs, according to a watchdog report.
Language issues, a lack of Asian doctors and not enough community-based services are the main issues, Healthwatch Oxfordshire said.
A survey of 101 Asian women in the city found 62 said they found it hard to access medical services.
They said language barriers made them feel unwelcome, they felt unable to talk to male staff and it was difficult to get transport.
One told researchers: “Communicating with my GP is a real issue as I do not understand his language and culture and he does not understand mine.
“I have to rely on my husband to interpret for me.”
The report was funded by the official health and social care watchdog and was carried out by the Asian Women’s Group (AWG).
Lead researcher and AWG chairwoman Aziza Shafique said: “People who can’t speak English need more interpreting services.
“GPs should identify whose patients who have got a language barrier and produce an interpreter for them when they have appointments.
“At the moment people are translating through their family which is very embarrassing and also stops their confidentiality.
“It means if there’s anything they don’t want their family to know, they don’t tell anyone. It compromises their rights.
“GP practices need to hire more diverse doctors that maybe are from Asian background or from a similar culture, who are able to speak the language and understand the religious needs.
“They also need to highlight which of their doctors speak different languages and are from Asian cultures so women know.
“I understand there are cuts and fewer resources, but they need to be more creative with the resources they do have.”
She said another issue is the distance people have to travel to surgeries and more community-based services would help.
She added: “Doctors need to be more flexible about where they deliver their services.
“They should go and hold sessions in community centres and children’s centres, maybe as drop-in sessions.”
NHS England spokeswoman Natalie Hagan said: “All GP practices are required to access translation services for their patients and we will be following up the concerns raised in this report.
“We will work with practices to ensure they are meeting the needs of all patients and the local community.”