Last month we gathered a group that included educators, policy-makers, frontline workers and voices from the community and voluntary sector to discuss the challenges faced by individuals from ethnic minority and migrant communities when accessing healthcare in Northern Ireland.

The presentations and conversations came together in a way that was even better than we had hoped for, with contributions covering everything from access to interpreters to understanding different cultural norms.

In fact our presenters – who included North West Migrant Forum volunteer and nurse Beverly Simpson, lecturer in applied psychology Dr Orla McDevitt-Petrovic and the Public Health Agency's Joanne Doherty – made so many vitally important points, that we've collated the key insights from the event into a handy document.

Read the full insights document

In the document you can find reflections like those of Beverly Simpson on the impact of the Covid 19 pandemis:

“The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the working class minority... Not only do we face the fears of Covid at work, but we face the fears of not being able to provide for our families. Fears about vaccination, unemployment, immigration status, racism, access to benefits and universal credit... Meeting the needs of the marginalised has never been more important."

Or Dr Orla McDevitt-Petrovic's comments on the dangers of overthinking for medical practitioners:

"You can find that other practitioners get very caught up in ‘what are the right or wrong things to say,’ ‘what’s an acceptable thing to say, what’s not an acceptable thing to say,’ because they have a fear of stereotyping people. Sometimes this fear of stereotyping people can become so great that people overgeneralise and cultural differences are not acknowledged or discussed.”

It was a great event and we hope that it will have an ongoing impact. Developing Healthy Communities Chief Executive Erin McFeely says: "It is clear that there is energy and enthusiasm for this conversation right now, and that is a really positive sign. I hope that some of the connections made in the seminar will develop into productive long-term relationships.”