Focus groups with the Camden Somali community

 On 21 October Healthwatch Camden held a Mother tongue focus group for Somali Women, facilitated by Somali Youth Development Resource Centre (SYDRC).

This was organised as part of the focus groups in mother tongue work to find out about access to GP services, what is good and what can be improved.

We want to know what our Somali community think so that local planning of health and social care services includes people from all communities and ages.  

In accordance with feedback from participants we held women only groups. We are always keen to accommodate local community needs, for example we’ve held single sex focus groups for the African community, and the South Sudanese women’s group. We are also holding a separate session for Somali men.

A lot of the women in the focus group didn’t speak English so felt unable to communicate well. We know that people can feel excluded from services and we know that access to services and treatment isn’t always equal. It’s about getting in touch with the most disadvantage groups in Camden and hearing their voices.

This was an interesting session attended by 13 women.  However, the women struggled to say positive things about going to see a GP.

Issues raised include difficulty in making appointments, and appointments being cancelled without warning.  A participant said: ‘They patronise you, especially if you go with children.’

Another said: ‘There is no provision for emergency interpreting, you have to rely on family and friends which sometimes is not suitable.’

Another said: ‘I have to mentally prepare myself to go to my GP as I know how I will be treated.’

We hope that the results from this study will improve access to GP services for the Somali community and also highlight where the service is doing well and where it can be improved. We want local health and social care services to be targeted for our community needs.  

We’re always keen to hear your views, so comment below.