Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust is the first NHS organisation in the country to receive a City of Sanctuary Award for supporting people who are seeking asylum and refuge to access the health services they need.
The known number people seeking asylum and refuge in Lancashire has risen rapidly in recent years with over a thousand in Lancashire at any one time.
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust has been working to understand the challenges that many asylum seekers and refugees face and taking positive steps towards making it easier for them to receive care. The trust has also been supporting staff to provide the best services possible despite challenges they face when having difficult conversations and dealing with barriers created by language.
Nicky Ingham, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development for the trust said:
“We are so incredibly proud, not only to have received recognition for striving to be an inclusive organisation, but for being the first NHS trust in the whole country to be in receipt of a City of Sanctuary Award for Health. One of the things that makes the NHS so special is the fact that services are available to all so we look forward to building on this work further to make sure that everyone who needs health care can receive it.”
Emma Allen, Equality and Diversity Strategic Lead for the trust said:
“We’re really proud to have been recognised as leading the way when it comes to providing accessible healthcare services for all. We know that asylum seekers and refugees are likely to have particular health needs because of the distressing experiences they’ve faced and it’s so important that we make it as easy as possible for them to get the help that they need.
“Empathy and compassion can make a huge difference when people are trying to navigate the health care system. We know that for our staff, dealing with complex issues can be challenging so have tried to make it as easy as possible for them to access the information they need to be able to provide the best care possible.”
The trust has made guidance and training available to all staff around how to best meet the needs of those seeking asylum and refuge and will continue to engage with this population to continue to learn and develop this work.
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust recently hosted a special tenth anniversary Opportunity Knocks conference which celebrates diversity and connects colleagues, patients and carers from across the county to people to showcase learning across the region.