12 October 2023

Removing barriers for under-represented groups accessing care in Tower Hamlets Psychological Therapies Service

Vahishta Pardiwalla (project lead), Abi Harris, Gabriel Meszaros, Louise Hamilton Vickers, Ayesha Pudaruth, Aurora Todisco (carer), Elliott White (sponsor), Dalila Magdu (coach)

The Tower Hamlets Psychological Therapies (THPTS) service conducted an in-depth analysis of their caseload data in relation to the 2021 census data for Tower Hamlets. This revealed a significant disparity: Despite Bangladeshi individuals constituting the largest ethnic group in Tower Hamlets, accounting for 34.6% of the population, only 16.08% of referrals to THPTS originated from Bangladeshi clients. Similarly, when considering gender distribution, THPTS exhibited an underrepresentation of males, comprising only 30.8% of their clients compared to the borough’s 50.21%. This disparity extended to the over-65 demographic too. 

In light of these findings, our aim, by January 2024, is to enhance accessibility for individuals over 65, those of BAME heritage, and men. We aim to align our service intake with the demographic composition of the borough as reflected in census data. To accomplish this, we have assembled a dedicated team of professionals, including three service users and one carer, all of whom actively contribute to our project. 

Our current efforts involve a comprehensive exploration of the issue and the development of a strategic plan. This includes the utilisation of a fishbone diagram (Figure 1) to identify root causes and qualitative interviews with our service users to gain valuable insights and perspectives.  We are currently developing and testing our first change ideas.  This includes updating our triage guidance and thinking about how we apply our criteria, reflecting on our own biases at our next team away day and improving our links with other services such as community psychology. 


Figure 1 – THPTS fishbone diagram

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