Thinking Differently Together - First 1,000 Days Of Life

Accessing services when English is not your first language Bruce explained Ipswich Community Media (ICM) is a small charity working primarily in the Westgate Ward of Ipswich, which is one of the most deprived wards in the country as well as one of the most diverse wards in Suffolk. Our mission is to challenge inequality by empowering people to transform their lives through learning and creativity. As well as music and media, ICM teaches English to Speakers of Other Languages, and ICM now teaches almost 400 migrant students a year. We have built relationships with health services, public health, and the Clinical Commissioning Group to develop courses that embed health topics such as diet, nutrition, exercise, as well as accessing primary and secondary care health services, which has been hugely successful. Alongside this, we work with volunteer and community champions, such as Monika, who over the past year has been supporting migrant women to engage effectively with local maternity services. Monika explained that it was a privilege to work with the women in her community, sharing information and good practice in how to find help as it is all very new for them. Even without a pregnancy, new baby or children to cope with, it is unbelievably difficult coming to a new country as everything is different. You may see the same types of people but sometimes you don’t understand – this is more than just a language barrier, it is much more complex. One challenge is a lack of trust in health services. In our home countries the national health services are underfunded and have a lot of issues; many people use private healthcare thinking that if you pay you will get more, and don’t experience public services as something positive, professional and supportive. So the first challenge is to help people to trust that the service will be good, with amazing people supporting you at a most incredibly good, or bad, time in your life. If you do not understand the health system you may not understand the roles of the professionals in it, like the midwife or doctor. For example, you may think that if you see a midwife it might mean you are not an important enough patient to see a doctor, not realising the midwife’s role is to give you the best possible care, understanding and support. If you then have a problem you may then not know where to look for help, how to ask, or what kinds of services could support you. If you are lucky enough to find the right service or professional to support them, you can face difficulties where there is a lack of communication between services. There is a lack of communication between GP surgeries and hospitals, they exist completely independently and even though they are both giving amazing care at the moment they don’t communicate with each other. If you don’t speak English, one lost letter can mean a huge level of stress, for example you may not have the information you need, or you may receive a phone call but not know who you were talking to or where they want you to go. One lady went to the GP, pharmacy and hospital every day for two weeks Bruce MacGregor, Director, Ipswich Community Media Monika Puchala, Community Champion, Ipswich Community Media 17 | Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System

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