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Tearful farewell to NHS Bengali carers’ advice service in Stepney after 30 years

PUBLISHED: 15:26 25 September 2017 | UPDATED: 08:01 27 September 2017

Women's group bid farewell to Bangladeshi Parent Advisory group. Picture: Dr Anna Llivingstone

Women's group bid farewell to Bangladeshi Parent Advisory group. Picture: Dr Anna Llivingstone

Archant

Parents and workers were in tears over the closure of a Bengali advisory service for families caring for those with severe learning disabilities and physical problems.

The women who organised event at Stepney'[s John Smith centre to say 'thanks' to the Bangladeshi Parent Advisory group. Picture: Dr Anna Llivingstone The women who organised event at Stepney'[s John Smith centre to say 'thanks' to the Bangladeshi Parent Advisory group. Picture: Dr Anna Llivingstone

The women’s group who have been using the Bangladeshi Parent Advisors at Stepney’s John Smith’s children’s centre organised a meal to thank staff for their support, now the NHS has reduced its specialist advisory function.

GPs in London’s East End have referred patients to the service for 30 years, including Tower Hamlets local medical committee chair Jackie Applebee and Limehouse GP Anna Livingstone.

“This service needed expansion—not axing,” Dr Livingstone told the East London Advertiser.

“Being able to turn to them for support has been key to GP primary care. We are all worried for the future.”

The service has been reduced despite research showing “stigmatisation, isolation and poor health” affecting family members, Dr Livingstone points out.

One of the mothers, Aleya Farruque, addressed the parents about the closure while thanking staff. Many were in tears.

The adult learning disability service was taken over by East London NHS Foundation Trust in February, resulting in some posts being phased out including parent advisors. But other functions such as psychology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy “have been strengthened”, the trust points out, resulting a shorter time between referral and assessment.

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