Experiences Among Undocumented Migrants Accessing Primary Care In The United Kingdom: A Qualitative Study.


Poduval, S; Howard, N; Jones, L; Murwill, P; McKee, M; Legido-Quigley, H; (2015) Experiences Among Undocumented Migrants Accessing Primary Care In The United Kingdom: A Qualitative Study. International journal of health services. ISSN 0020-7314 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0020731414568511

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Abstract

Immigration is a key political issue in the United Kingdom. The 2014 Immigration Act includes a number of measures intended to reduce net immigration, including removing the right of non-European Economic Area migrants to access free health care. This change risks widening existing health and social inequalities. This study explored the experiences of undocumented migrants trying to access primary care in the United Kingdom, their perspectives on proposed access restrictions, and suggestions for policymakers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 undocumented migrants and four volunteer staff at a charity clinic in London. Inductive thematic analysis drew out major themes. Many undocumented migrants already faced challenges accessing primary care. None of the migrants interviewed said that they would be able to afford charges to access primary care and most said they would have to wait until they were much more unwell and access care through Accident & Emergency (A&E) services. The consequences of limiting access to primary care, including threats to individual and public health consequences and the additional burden on the National Health Service, need to be fully considered by policymakers. The authors argue that an evidence-based approach would avoid legislation that targets vulnerable groups and provides no obvious economic or societal benefit.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Global Health and Development
Academic Services & Administration > Academic Administration
Research Centre: ECOHOST - The Centre for Health and Social Change
PubMed ID: 25711730
Web of Science ID: 352002700007
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2121353

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