New review to examine how the NHS communicates with Jewish communities

  • Published: 31.07.2023

Health inequalities experienced disproportionally by Jewish communities in England will be addressed in new research announced today (31 July 2023) by the NHS Race and Health Observatory.

Intent Health, has been awarded a 12-month research commission following an Invitation to Tender published last year by the independent health body.

The work will establish key insights into how to promote effective communications between NHS health service providers and the Jewish community, improve patient experience and prevent disengagement from healthcare services. Research will examine how the NHS in England is currently working to communicate and engage with the Jewish community, the methods used to deliver key public health messages, and potential barriers in distributing messages in areas around topics such as vaccination, preventive health care examination and investigations (such as for hypertension and diabetes), healthy dietary practices and mental health wellbeing.

Intent Health is undertaking a rapid evidence review to understand the extent of useful previous research, identify gaps and omissions, and identify any current best practice methods and recommendations. This work will also highlight access in inequalities in health and consider how any guidelines and policies aimed at Jewish communities, are implemented.

Areas of focused research are set to explore several known barriers, as well as feelings of mistrust, which are thought to lead towards disparities in experiences around accessing care. Low immunisation take-up in certain communities, high Covid-19 infection and mortality rates and increased genetic risk of disease, for example, breast cancer will be explored. In addition, the Jewish Medical Association (UK) and NHS England Jewish Staff Network will be engaged to provide additional insight during the review.

The mixed-methods review will involve engagement and feedback with the lived experience of diverse Jewish communities, resulting in new, practical, evidence based guidance and recommendations, by summer 2024, for NHS service providers, including clinicians.

Dr Jane Brearley, Founder and CEO, Intent Health, said:

“It’s a huge privilege for us to be working with the NHS Race and Health Observatory to help improve the way our health services communicate and engage with the Jewish community. Finding ways to address health inequities and develop messages that help improve outcomes for everyone goes to heart of what Intent Health does best.”

NHS communications will be evaluated across broad areas including:

1. Issues around booking and attending appointments, including on Sabbath and during religious festivals

2. Experience and impact of antisemitism from staff, patients or members of the public

3. Encounters faced due to behaviour of healthcare staff – educational / cultural incompetency

4. End of life care, including care of the bereaved

5. The position of Jewish staff working within the NHS and how their wellbeing is affected by the communications and environment in which they work

6. Trusted sources of health information

7. Hospital food provided and available for patients and staff.

Chief Executive, NHS Race and Health Observatory, Dr Habib Naqvi, said:

“We are pleased to announce this targeted area of research primarily focused on Jewish communities. The work will bring together, for the first time, key insights and evidence-based recommendations that address gaps in health communication. We know that culturally sensitive, tailored engagement and communication delivered through the correct platforms is vital to improve understanding, trust, confidence and, ultimately, healthcare outcomes for our diverse communities. The Observatory is focused on turning evidence and insight into practical actions for change.”