Contact first: Research grant awarded to investigate what deters under-represented communities from accessing health care services

3 mins read

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Tags: research, health care, disabled children

Contact, working in partnership with Alder Hey Children’s Trust, Edge Hill University and the North West National Network of Parent Carer forums ( NW NNPCF), have successfully secured a grant from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) for a pioneering project which started this June. The project will be carried out over the next year and is focused on communities in the North West.

The research aims

Some disabled and neurodiverse children and young people from under-represented communities experience barriers accessing health care. Our research aims to investigate and co-produce solutions to reduce these barriers.

What difference could this research project make?

Helping under-represented communities

We know that many disabled and neurodivergent children and young people from under-served communities have less access to healthcare and have poorer health outcomes.

Children, young people and families from communities such as Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and Traveller communities can face discrimination, disadvantage and exclusion and have less choice and control about their health care.

Improving access to health care

So far, research in this area has been limited. The project offers a unique and prestigious opportunity for Contact to work in partnership with community members to investigate what gets in the way of, and what could improve, access to health care for disabled and neurodivergent children, young people and their parent/carers.

The work we do thanks to this funding will help researchers, charities and services work out ways to work with under-served and under-represented communities and find out the most important areas to look at and solutions to test as part of a future grant. 

What will the project involve?

There are four distinct phases to this project:

  • Phase 1: We will work with existing parent carer forums in the North-West to find out some of the communities facing the biggest challenge in being listened to and getting access to the health care they need.
  • Phase 2: We’ll spend time working with people – community connectors – within three or four communities identified in phase 1 to develop some good ways of working with children, young people, and their families from these communities.
  • Phase 3: Is all about listening to families and communities, We will start to build a detailed picture of the reasons children, young people and their families in our identified communities aren’t able to access the healthcare they need.
  • Phase 4: The final phase of the project will be about deciding with communities how they want to work together in the future and what each specific community thinks is most important to help improve disabled and neurodivergent children and young people’s access to healthcare.