Objective: To investigate access to and use of health services, particularly maternal and child health care, in the UK by Palestinian women. Design: A qualitative study using a pragmatic approach for exploration and description. Data were transcribed ad verbatim and analysed using framework analysis and the NVivo 9 computer program. Setting: Interviews were conducted in participants' homes, the researcher's home and in Arabic schools. Participation: Twenty-two interviews were conducted. Participants were living in different geographic areas in Manchester, and were recruited through Arabic schools and the main mosque in the city. Findings: Four themes emerged from the qualitative interviews, which were: ‘cultural variations’; ‘knowledge of the NHS and the UK health-care system’; ‘health care services and their utilisation, focusing on maternal and child health-care services’; and ‘communication, information provision and needs’. Conclusion: Culturally competent care is required to reduce the inequity of maternal and child health-care services; this study recommended the following points: In delivering the information for BME groups, it is inappropriate to implement a ‘one-size-fits-all’ programme; culturally appropriate care could be satisfactorily achieved through effective and continuous training programmes based on culture, ethnicity and religion for all health professionals; and effective interpretation services are vital so there is no need to rely on family members and friends as was clearly the case for the participants in this study.