Migrants’ Access to Healthcare: Barriers to Wellbeing

Alessandra Piacenti

This briefing addresses the health status of migrants and barriers to migrants’ access to healthcare in the UK and Scotland. It recommends that the rights of migrants must be clarified and communicated (particularly in the case of a “Brexit”) and collaborations between the NHS and migrant groups could be developed to minimise administrative and cultural clashes.
Cultural sensitivity, Discrimination, Health, Healthcare, Immigration, Migration, Public Health
Key Points
  • Contrary to popular assumptions, migrants’ health tends to decline within months of their arrival in the UK due to environmental and social stressors.
  • Ordinarily resident individuals and many European citizens are entitled access to NHS care and domestic pricing when moving to the UK. However, for new migrants, categories like asylum seekers and migrants from outside the European Economic Area, immigration health charges and challenges can apply.
  • Barriers to migrants’ access to healthcare include issues with GP registration, uncertainty about healthcare and migrants’ legal status, financial concerns, cultural issues and clashes with staff.
  • This briefing recommends further research is conducted to better understand migrants’ health situations and needs. Additionally, efforts must be made to improve the information, communication and relationships shared by migrant groups, healthcare providers and the Government.