"Discrimination within race"

About: East Lancashire Teaching PCT

(as a relative),

I believe that my mother regularly experiences doctor's unfair treatment when she visits her GP. She is of Bangladeshi Origin and the GP is Pakistani. My mother is uneducated and the GP is very educated. Based on my experience I think that sometimes GPs from BME backgound can look down at their patients and they feel they are within a position of power as they can allocate remedies to improve health. My mother feels that the doctor doesnt make time for her when she visits and just fobs hers off with excuses such as lose your weight (she is lsightly overwight at 11stone) or reluctant to understand any issues by prescribing standard paracetemol tablets.

I have asked her to change doctors but she feels its better to stay with the “devil you know”. In her practice, it is not possible to move to another BME doctor. As she doesnt speak good English she doesnt want to change her practice to one which has only English doctors.

I think that there are inequalities within the system and it is necessary for public services to be attainable to all at all public areas.

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Response from Sharon Walkden, Engagement Officer, NHS East Lancashire

Thank you for taking the time to share your feelings. Firstly I would like to say how sorry I am that you feel your mother regularly experiences unfair treatment at her GP practice, and she does not receive the care and attention needed.

You are absolutely right that NHS services should be attainable to all, and we need to address any health inequalities within our area. I understand that language is an important factor, especially with health matters, and this could deter your mother from registering elsewhere.

Do you think your mother would be happy to contact us here at the Patient Engagement Team to discuss her experience in more detail? We have an Urdu speaker in the team and obviously your mother’s experience would be treated as confidential. We can listen to your mother’s experience and, with her permission, use it to try and improve services.

The Patient Engagement Team can be contacted on 0845 6031 068.

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Update posted by victimised (a relative)

Thanks for your response Sharon. However, yet again there are inequalities in contacting your service. My mother does not speak Urdu as that language is the national language of Pakistan. As originally written, she is Bangladeshi (Bangladesh) and her language is Bengali (Sylhet dialect). Given that there are around 1,000 Bangladeshi's (ONS Census estimates) from Sylhet in my Borough and much more within East Lancashire when Burnley, Hyndburn and Blackburn are included, this ethnic group is given the least focus and as a result suffers from the greatest health inequalities.

Response from Sharon Walkden, Engagement Officer, NHS East Lancashire

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I do apologise as I had meant to add to my response that we can certainly arrange a Bengali interpreter for either a telephone conversation or for a meeting in person, whichever your mother would prefer, if she was happy and willing to tell us about her experience, but I failed to add this before the response was published.

We would be very interested in speaking with your mother, to learn more of her experiences and how she feels improvements could be made and we will certainly accomodate her needs.

We can be contacted on 0845 6031 068, and if your mother does call us please just ask her to state that she speaks Bengali and we can get an interpreter on the line within minutes.

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