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The Primrose Files: a docuseries about equity of access to healthcare

We are pleased to be launching the first in our docuseries, The Primrose Files, created and led by Primrose Granville, an award-winning broadcaster and passionate health campaigner, as well as an Ambassador for Genomics England. Today is also a special day, as we honour the 2nd anniversary of her mother’s passing, the very woman who started Primrose on her journey into advocating for getting under-represented communities to talk about their health, and driving of the improvement of healthcare for all.

If the video above doesn’t work for you, you can watch it on YouTube:

The first episode of The Primrose Files was filmed in Jamaica, where Primrose was born, raised and educated. Using her expertise and knowledge of the country and its people, Primrose brought her Black Health Matters Programme to Jamaica to find out how Jamaicans felt about their access to – and trust in – healthcare and medical research. This will form part of a wider piece to understand the differences in sentiment between the Black Caribbean and Black African diaspora in the UK versus majority Black communities around the world, and in turn we hope to use these insights to support our continuing work with Primrose, as well as to feed into our Diverse Data programme, to achieve our ultimate goal of equitable healthcare.

On the making of this docuseries, Primrose said:

Growing up in Jamaica, I was always at the doctor’s office, so much so that one of my first phrases was, ‘no doctor!’ I knew when my mother was headed to the clinic, I knew it was for me and I knew it might involve a needle. I loved the clinic and the doctors, I just didn’t like needles. Most importantly, they looked like me and some of these clinicians were parents of friends, neighbours and people I met on the street.

That is my experience of medicine, medical intervention and everything health. We went to the doctor for everything, didn’t leave without a follow-up appointment which we pay through the nose for. I am not personally familiar with mistrust and distrust in medicine and healthcare, though I know and understand the historical reasons.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was hit head-on by the difference here in the UK. I kept hearing a lot of negativity around the existence of COVID-19 itself, then came the anti-vaccine narrative, which stunned me! I remember getting my vaccines (inoculations) at the clinic or school nurse’s office. I still bear the polio vaccine scar but never saw an objecting parent in sight.

This first documentary is about research into whether that is still the status quo in Jamaica. The results did surprise me a little – you will need to watch to find out why. I hope you enjoy.

Primrose Granville

Genomics England Ambassador

Dr Maxine Mackintosh, Programme Lead for Diverse Data at Genomics England, said:

“There are so many factors that affect our attitudes towards our health; they are shaped by our individual experiences, our local community, our heritage and our habits. In this first episode, Primrose has given us a window into how and why people in Jamaica trust their healthcare system, and we look forward to hearing her conversations with people across the UK and seeing if and how they differ. With this series, we hope more people see the diversity of views different communities have towards healthcare and medical research. Understanding this is critical in enabling us, not just as Genomics England but as a society, to tackle the problem of health inequity.”

Dr Maxine Mackintosh

Programme Lead for Diverse Data, Genomics England

The Primrose Files will continue with more discussions around health, trust and research, as Primrose journeys through various parts of the UK to talk to people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Find out more about our Ambassador programme, and how you might be able to help, here.

Primrose with Jamaica’s former High Commissioner to the UK, Ambassador Aloun Ndombet-Assamba.

Primrose at filming location.

Contact us about our Ambassadors programme

Yufan Chen

Head of Engagement

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