Orthodox get a tonic from NHS

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 10, 2009

A £100,000 NHS pilot scheme to offer culturally sensitive healthcare to strictly Orthodox Salford families was rolled out to local health professionals on Tuesday at the Hershel Weiss Surestart family centre.

They were told that imminent trial services would include a post-natal counsellor and a male health worker recruited from the local community.

Hershel Weiss manager Michelle Ciffer said NHS services were not always suitable for the strictly Orthodox. “Take post-natal depression counselling — there are long waiting lists to see not necessarily the right people for understanding religious women.”

Funding was secured in June after a lengthy assessment process. The scheme’s leader is Debra Frazer, who manages a GP surgery serving 3,500 religious patients.

She says the local NHS trust recognises that its amenities need to be more accessible, pointing out: “GP surgeries offer services geared for someone with one or two children. But if you’ve got five children, they are not easy to access.

Services will now be available on a more regular basis

“Now there will be creche facilities and child disease screenings and immunisations offered on a range of days rather than one afternoon a week. If we can demonstrate positive health outcomes, there is a chance the scheme might be recurrent.”

Last updated: 1:07pm, September 10 2009