Trailblazing Hastings project helping all women access healthcare

Rossana Leal and a group of Hastings women
Rossana Leal and a group of Hastings women

Women’s Voice has been awarded a grant to run a trailblazing project in Hastings and St Leonards.

The grant comes from Rosa, the UK Fund for Girls and Women, and will be used to develop ways of making it easier for women for whom English is not their first language, to access health provision.

Rossana Leal, project worker with Women’s Voice and founder of the Hastings Refugee Buddy Project, is leading on the project, which is called ‘Lost in Translation: Interpreting Services and Their Impact on Refugee and Migrant Women’s Access to Health Services’.

Rossana said: “Women whose first language is not English have been telling us about their experiences of attending GP and hospital appointments where no interpreting services have been made available.

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“Not only does this have a direct effect on the women and their control over their health, but it must also be having a major effect on the finances of the NHS where appointments are having to be rescheduled as a result.”

The project will run for five months, until December 2019. It involves mapping existing services used by women in Hastings and surrounding areas, such as GPs and walk-in centres, as well as interviewing women about their experiences.

Findings will be collated and offered to health professionals.

A spokesman for Women’s Voice added: “Women’s Voice is keen to work closely with health professionals and hopes that the research obtained will be informative and help to provide tools or at least approaches to improve the situation for both women and our NHS services.”

Women’s Voice is a charity that seeks to empower all local women, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexuality or ability, encourage respect and awareness among all cultures and beliefs, and promote gender equality.