Seldom heard speaking up

In late 2015, Healthwatch Lewisham engaged with communities that don’t speak English as their first language including Vietnamese, Tamil, Polish, Turkish and Refugee groups. We engaged with 95 individuals which covered a broad range of demographics. Many people engaged with were parents or carers and many recognised themselves as being disabled.


  • Lack of trust towards medical professionals amongst some Polish participants, lack of referrals that leads to delayed diagnosis and treatment and use of private Polish clinics.
  • Lack of clarity of eligibility to translation services and translation quality for Vietnamese participants combined with cultural differences and lack of knowledge about local service provision and access
  • Self-selection of GPs that speak Tamil amongst Tamil participants (this finding is reflected in the number of translation requests for primary care – low and social care – high).
  • Turkish elders were generally happy with the GP services but there was a distinct lack of clarity around waiting times for referrals. Many participants were not happy with medicine replacements offered by pharmacies or doctors prescribing low quality medicine.
  • Refugee participants of Chinese origin complained about the lack of health checks available for younger people.


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Seldom heard speaking up report

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