A qualitative study exploring the experiences of access and pathways to health care among BME community groups residing in Ayrshire
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McKenzie, E. (2017) A qualitative study exploring the experiences of access and pathways to health care among BME community groups residing in Ayrshire, no. 193.
A review of the literature showed that Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities carry a disproportionately higher burden of illness than the general population and experience greater inequalities in health and health care provision. A growing body of research confirms that BME groups are under-represented in research. The main objective of the present study was to gain insights into the perspectives of BME community groups' experiences of accessing general and sexual health care services in Ayrshire. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 participants, n = 5 men (age range: 32-65; mean age = 52.4 years), and n = 6 women (age range: 27-60; mean age = 47.67 years). Data were analysed employing Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The analysis is illustrated through the use of four super-ordinate themes: ‘It’s a Trust Thing’, ‘Minding the Gap(s)’, ‘Sexual Health: a Culture of Silence’, and ‘Personal Perception of Risk’. The findings both support and add to the existing trust literature by presenting a heuristic model of trust, and by showing that participants trust is dynamic in character, has a role, and serves various roles and functions that impact decisions about accessing health services. Significant gaps in knowledge about available health services and unique communication challenges that prevent full access to health care and health promotion information were found, resulting in unmet needs. Analysis charted culturally driven factors that prohibit discussions about sexual health concerns and found complex cognitions involved in the personal perception of risk that was meaningfully understood by participants that direct towards understanding risk in terms of a heuristic model. The implications for clinical practice, health promotion, health service development, and the direction of future research will be discussed.