Shropshire County PCT ... Market Intelligence: the Chinese Population in ShropshireYou might imagine that Shropshire, with its rolling landscapes and country market towns, is solidly white British. However, Shropshire County PCT recently became the first trust to commission the Chinese National Healthy Living Centre to take a closer look. There are in fact nearly 1,000 people of ethnically Chinese origin served by the trust, according to the 2001 census (which found 247,403 Chinese people in the UK). The centre was commissioned to assess their health needs.
“Most ethnically Chinese people in Shropshire are Cantonese-speaking and involved in the takeaway business,” explains Lucy Tran, the centre’s evaluation and research officer. “However, many in Telford are Mandarin-speaking from Taiwan or the mainland and in other businesses.
“The main issue is language. There are middle-aged people who don’t speak English. They may rely on family and friends to interpret when they visit a doctor, so they find that regular appointments for long-term treatments are problematic. Those in the takeaway business say that GP opening hours are unsatisfactory. They find it difficult to book appointments. However, once people are in the system they are happy with the care.”
College students in boarding schools comprise 50 per cent of the county’s ethnically Chinese population – often from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The colleges worry about students bringing Chinese medicine from home and self-medicating.
The study is expected to suggest translation of information leaflets into Cantonese and Mandarin – little is available – and better publicity for the existing interpreting service. “It’s good the PCT realises that the community in Shropshire is so diverse,” says Lucy Tran.