Health watchdog wants South Asian and Muslim women to complain for change

South Asian and Muslim women are being urged complain over NHS services

South Asian and Muslim women are being urged complain over NHS services - Credit: Archant

South Asian and Muslim women are being urged by a health watchdog to complain if they have received a poor service from the NHS.

Research carried out by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman service has revealed that South Asian and Muslim women are less likely to complain about their NHS treatment than white British women.

Focus groups with South Asian and Muslim women carried out by the ombudsman service revealed that some of this reluctance to complain is because some fear that they will face repercussions. South Asian and Muslim women who complained to the NHS, told the ombudsman they were made to feel ‘inferior’ and that they ‘were in the wrong for complaining’.

Now, as part of an outreach campaign launched today (September 24), the ombudsman service is sending out 25,000 leaflets in five different South Asian languages, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu, explaining how to complain about NHS treatment.

More than 5,000 posters in six different languages are being sent to advocacy groups in the five cities which have a high proportion of south Asian residents as well as Tower Hamlets and Newham.


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An advertisement in Hindi is also being shown on a cable channel for two months encouraging south Asian women to complain.

Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, said: “We are worried that South Asian and Muslim women’s voices are going unheard because they are less likely to complain about their NHS treatment than white British women.

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“Almost four out of 10 of people that are unhappy with public services do not raise a complaint, because they do not believe it will make a difference. We want South Asian and Muslim women to feel confident in making a complaint about their NHS treatment and to know that complaining can make a difference.”

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigates complaints that people have been treated unfairly or have received poor service in the NHS in England.

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