Partnerships for Better Health

Funded by the Department of Health, 2009–2011

Contact Tracey Bignall

What are the aims of the project?

This 3-year project works with black and minority ethnic-led voluntary organisations, primary care trusts and social services departments to:

  • develop self-sustaining partnership working
  • share information and learning
  • embed equality in service provision
  • improve healthcare support for black and minority ethnic communities.

How will these aims be fulfilled?

Action learning sets

Using ‘action learning sets’,  we are helping organisations across the UK use the concept of ‘learning from doing’ to enable frontline workers to:

  • identify barriers to partnership working in their area
  • investigate these barriers and identify solutions
  • train staff to use different approaches to problem solving and explore what works and why
  • make use of evidence to effect change in services
  • agree a plan of action and carry this out
  • evaluate outcomes
  • highlight and disseminate good practice.

Evidence and support

The Race Equality Foundation provides support to help participants:

  • implement their action plans
  • facilitate change in policy and health care practice
  • reduce health inequalities and meet other healthcare targets.

Participants are also supported with evidence and good practice guidance from the Better Health Briefing Papers (external website).

What have we produced


The partnership area for 2010-2011 is:


We are currently undertaking two action learning set programmes in Liverpool. The first is exploring the perceptions of health by black and minority ethnic older people.  This has already seen issues raised to address concerning quality of care and service provision through discussions with East and West African elders, and African Caribbean older people.

The second programme is exploring mental health support to those affected by forced marriages.  We are currently looking to work with two schools and other practitioners with the aim of developing appropriate support systems, and informing young people of where and how to get help.

We also participated in a Liverpool Forced Marriage conference organised by NHS North West and Liverpool Primary Care Trust.


The Foundation ended its facilitation of partnership meetings for the 2000-2010 project groups in summer 2010.  Work has continued on the selected inequality issues, and further information will be available in our practice guide, due for publication in 2011.


This set focused on improving dignity and respect in black and minority ethnic patients’ experience of health services, to tie in with the strategic aims of the PCT.  The work focused primarily on GP services and piloted the use of a Patient Experience Tracker with community organisations to measure patient experience.  Additionally, the PCT are developing the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) framework, which measures the services against particular outcomes and standards.  There is intention to influence the standard on patient experience with this work.

For more information on CQUIN, see the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement website (external website)


This set explored the reasons behind late booking into antenatal services, identifying which black and minority ethnic communities book late and developing interventions to encourage early contact.  Maternity data identified high rates of late booking for Nigerian, Ghanaian, Turkish and Sri Lankan women.  The meetings came to an end in July 2010, but Bromley PCT is continuing a range of dissemination and outreach activities to raise the need for early registration with maternity services including:

  • a pharmacy campaign
  • work with Nigerian and Ghanaian communities in two areas
  • work with faith and voluntary organisations in targeted areas
  • work with children’s centres

Core to the programme is the production and distribution of a maternity leaflet.


The Luton set looked at preventative oral health for South Asian communities, and partook in national and local events to improve health promotion and community outreach.  The PCT has continued to take up outreach opportunities to inform South Asian communities on preventative oral health, and may in future collaborate with local mosques on an oral health programme.


The Foundation ended its facilitation of partnership meetings for the 2008-2009 project groups in July 2009.  Work has continued on the selected inequality issues, and further information will be available in our practice guide, due for publication in 2011.

South Birmingham

This set examined self-management programmes for black and minority ethnic people with long term conditions.  The work culminated in a health seminar aimed at black and minority ethnic communities to explain the concept of self care

  • enable the PCT to find out what people want and address their information needs
  • help determine how best to meet the self-care health needs of these communities.


This set focused on support for women with mental ill health during maternity. The National Perinatal Mental Health Project was at this time conducting similar work, and so selected Croydon as a pilot site for their national perinatal mental health project. The partnership is developing a resource that incorporates community support and links its Partnership work with other screening developments within the Trust’s maternity services.

For more information on the National Perinatal Mental Health Project see the National Mental Health report (external website)

Westminster, London

This set aimed to accurately map the ethnic makeup of the borough by examining the ‘Other’ grouping used in census data. This allowed action to target the specific health needs of different ethnic groupings. The involvement of black and minority ethnic groups has been crucial to this unique project, and success in outlining the ethnic characteristics of the ‘Other’ group already has implications for future work and service planning.  The Filipino community was the largest ethnic other group identified and work on the health needs of this group were identified in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.  As a result, the Migrant Resource Centre is undertaking an action research project which will be completed by March 2011.

Filipino community in Westminster
Research into the community health

The following report summarises the project findings: