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The Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Health Forum

Introduction

The BME Health Forum is a unique and well-established partnership between voluntary and community organisations, healthcare providers, commissioners, and local authorities. It improves the quality of health and social care services for patients from deprived backgrounds living primarily in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham.

The BME Health Forum empowers marginalised patients and communities to engage and influence local health care provision. It provides a way for health professionals, and commissioners to listen to the health needs of marginalised patients and make improvements to health services.   

The BME Health Forum was first established in 2002 when it was located within Westminster Primary Care Trust. In 2011, after changes in legislation with regard to Primary Care Trusts, the BME Health Forum became an independent body. It was incorporated into a limited company in 2012 and was registered with the Charity Commission in 2013.

BME Health Forum Aims

  • Reduce health inequalities for people from deprived communities
  • Improve health and wellbeing outcomes for people from deprived communities
  • Ensure that health and social care policies and service development are informed by the views of local communities

BME Health Forum Objectives

  • Remove barriers to accessing health and social care for people from deprived communities both directly and indirectly by engaging with health and social care policy makers and service providers, community organisations and individuals, improving links and communication and raising awareness.
  • Research, scrutinise and influence strategic policy issues and initiatives within the health and social care services to ensure that policy makers are aware of the impact on deprived communities of any decisions made.
  • Support communities and organisations to voice their health concerns, bringing these to the attention of commissioners and providers and ensuring that they are taken into account in the planning, commissioning and delivery of services.
  • Support the voluntary and community sector in the delivery of health, social care and wellbeing projects by a variety of strategies including commissioning, providing skills and information, demonstrating value and raising concerns to the relevant statutory sector bodies.

Governance

The BME Health Forum is governed by 12 trustees including 6 trustees who are nominated by local BME groups. Current trustees are:

Chair: Kaveh Kalantari, The Iranian Association

Treasurer: David Truswell, Independent Advisor on Dementia support & services for BME 

Trustee: Brian Colman, Independent equalities expert

Trustee: Filsan Ali, Midaye Somali Development Network

Trustee: Cllr Judith Blakeman, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

Trustee: Alison Devlin, Independent Equalities & Diversity Expert

Trustee: Meerat Kaur, Associate Programme Lead for Patient and Public Involvement at NIHR CLAHRC for Northwest London

Trustee: Marie Tameze, French African Welfare Association (FAWA)

Trustee: Gladys Sheriff, Women's Association for African Networking and Development (WAND) UK

Trustee: Eddie Chan, Chinese Welfare Trust

Trustee: Halaleh Taheri, Middle Eastern Women & Society Organisation (MEWSO)

Trustee: Aziz Toki, Central London Youth Development Trust (CLYD)

The BME Health Forum is supported by an advisory group consisting of the 12 trustees as well as another of 6 members from the local NHS, the local authorities and the voluntary and community sector. The advisory group meet quarterly. Trustees also meet quarterly in a separate meeting.

The organisations represented on the advisory group are:

Central London CCG

Hammesmith & Fulham CCG

West London CCG

Kensington & Chelsea Social Council

One Westminster

SOBUS

Kings College London

Funding

The funding for the BME Health Forum is as follows:

  • Core funding from Central London Clinical Commissioning Group, Hammersmith & Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group and West London Clinical Commissioning Group.
  • Funding for the Multilingual Emotional Wellbeing Project in Kensington & Chelsea from the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
  • Funding for our BME Innovation Project from West London CCG

 Core Activities & Projects

The BME Health Forum’s core activities are:

  • Disseminating information about services, events, consultations, jobs, funding, and changes in policy or legislation by newsletter (to 500 recipients) and through our website
  • Holding 4 engagement meetings per year that promote two way communication between the NHS and the local BME community sector
  • Facilitating and taking part in formal and informal consultations that contribute to improved understanding of statutory providers and commissioners of the needs of the local population
  • Providing advice and support to community organisations and individuals about how to engage with the NHS, and supporting NHS commissioners and providers to successfully communicate and engage with local providers, users and patients.
  • Putting together partnerships of BME organisations to access funding and deliver health and wellbeing projects that improve the health and wellbeing of BME communities, particularly 1st generation migrants and those who are not fluent English speakers.
  • Facilitating focus groups for the local NHS to engage with BME communities.

The BME Health Forum’s current projects are:

Multilingual Mental Wellbeing Project

This project supports people from BME communities who are going through an emotionally difficult period in their lives but who are not mental health service users.

The BME Health Forum has trained bilingual volunteers from the 4 community organisations to offer mental wellbeing sessions (including listening in a non-judgmental way, offering information, support and advocacy and making appropriate referrals). Volunteers are managed by their organisations and offered independent supervision also. Sessions are offered in 9 different languages as well as English.

To find out more please go to go to this link:

http://bmehf.org.uk/index.php/about/projects/mental-wellbeing/