Recognising that our health and care needs are changing and that some parts of the community have less access to healthcare are key to better health for everyone.
Alongside a designated Health Coach employed by New Malden and Worcester Park Primary Care Network (PCN) to support the community from there, five Volunteer Health Coaches have been trained by the NHS and Kingston Council to offer further support, carrying out health checks and signposting to vital NHS services.
The community health coaches are all Korean themselves, and part of the local Korean population, the biggest that exists outside of Korea.
Every group has particular health needs, for the Korean community this is often a greater need of access to mental health support. For instance, some of the community have arrived from North Korea (Kingston hosts the largest North Korean refugee population in the UK) and the health coaches are available to discuss any support that might be needed by those people.
Local GP and Clinical Director of the PCN, Nick Merrifield, said: “It is invaluable to have people embedded in the heart of their community helping us reach those that may need support, but might not know how to access it.
Those who understand the culture, language and the challenges that their community faces, linked into the NHS network, will make real change to people’s health and wellbeing. Having a health coach as part of our team in the practice means that when Korean people do come in to see us, they are fully supported here too.”
It is invaluable to have people embedded in the heart of their community helping us reach those that may need support, but might not know how to access it.”
The health coaches are already members of the Korean Senior Citizens Association, an active group of volunteers who frequently meet and support one another at regular events.
To enhance the project, the Complete Care Community Programme is supporting, with the aim of developing a culturally appropriate and translated ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ leaflet which will increase the understanding of and access to local health services for the Korean population.