What NHS companies are migrants entitled to?

  1. Fatima B. Wurie, migrant well being proof and supply lead & inclusion well being programme supervisor, honorary analysis fellow12,
  2. Claire Zhang, honorary researcher, doctoral candidate23,
  3. Yusuf Ciftci, head of refugee involvement4,
  4. Cherstyn Hurley, immunisation publications supervisor and infodemiologist5,
  5. Ines Campos-Matos, deputy director for inclusion well being1

  1. 1Addictions and Inclusion Directorate, Workplace for Well being Enchancment and Disparities, Division of Well being and Social Care

  2. 2Institute of Well being Informatics, College Faculty London

  3. 3Nationwide Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Division of Inhabitants Well being, College of Oxford

  4. 4British Refugee Council

  5. 5Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Illnesses Division, UK Well being Safety Company

The UK has skilled an increase in web migration over latest years, with 606 000 migrants arriving within the UK in 2022.1 However are we doing sufficient to assist migrants to entry and navigate the well being system? Whereas migrants to the UK are much less more likely to die from the most typical causes of demise in contrast with the remainder of the inhabitants, they’re extra more likely to die of infectious ailments when in comparison with UK born populations.2 Covid-19 is a latest instance of this.3 Worldwide migrants had a considerable enhance in danger of demise in 2020 from covid, a lot increased than those that have been born within the UK and Eire. The pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequalities within the distribution of danger elements for in poor health well being and poor healthcare entry, demonstrating how over uncovered and beneath protected these teams might be.

Proof submitted by Docs of the World to the Residence Affairs Choose Committee4 in April 2020 confirmed how a poor understanding of NHS charging exemptions amongst healthcare professionals can impede migrants’ entry to well being companies. Regardless of clear NHS steering, in July 2021, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism5 printed stark findings displaying that undocumented migrants face main obstacles in accessing main care with 62% of GP surgical procedures incorrectly refusing to register sufferers with out proof of tackle, identification, or authorized immigration standing. This demonstrates how steadily some inclusion well being teams6 who’re entitled to healthcare in precept, are excluded from accessing healthcare and highlights the necessity to make NHS companies extra accessible to socially excluded individuals. A report by the Institute for Public Coverage Analysis discovered additional proof of the opposed impacts of the present charging system and provides choices to reform this method.7,8

Some newly arrived migrants to the UK are much less more likely to be immunised than the overall inhabitants.91011121314 Latest examples of the well being penalties of the beneath immunisation of weak migrants embrace outbreaks of scabies and diphtheria in massive migrant processing centres.151617 Such well being safety incidents have raised issues in regards to the influence of the Unlawful Migration Invoice on healthcare accessibility and continuity of care.12 Guaranteeing well timed vaccine provision for migrants is essential for particular person stage well being and the well being of the broader group for the prevention of outbreaks of vaccine preventable ailments, equivalent to diphtheria, measles, polio and Hepatitis A.

What NHS companies are migrants entitled to? Entry to main care is freed from cost to everybody no matter immigration standing. This contains routine vaccinations and covid-19 vaccination. Entry to secondary care is freed from cost to people who find themselves ordinarily resident in England and for some migrants, together with refugees and asylum seekers, and a few companies are free for all. All healthcare professionals ought to be outfitted with this information to recognise and reply to migrants’ well being wants in a well timed and culturally responsive method. So as to make it simpler for healthcare professionals to find out about what NHS companies and vaccinations migrants are entitled to, there are sources obtainable. Enhancing healthcare professionals’ consciousness of migrants’ entitlements to healthcare will be certain that correct sources of data on entry and navigation of NHS companies attain sufferers and their wider communities.

Healthcare professionals have a collective duty to observe NHS and public well being steering and implement obligatory steps to make sure teams typically on the margins of society will not be additional excluded. That is key to bettering dignified, equitable and inclusive entry to well being companies and lowering well being inequalities.

Additional recommendation and steering for healthcare practitioners on the well being wants of migrant sufferers and might be discovered within the Migrant Well being Information https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migrant-health-guide


  1. Aldridge, R.W., et al., International patterns of mortality in worldwide migrants: a scientific evaluation and meta-analysis. 2018. 392(10164): p. 2553-2566.

  2. Written proof submitted by Docs of the World (UK) (COR0121) to the Residence Affairs Choose Committee. Residence Workplace preparedness for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) (Inquiry). 7 Might 2020.

  3. Deal, A et al. Immunisation standing of UK-bound refugees between January, 2018, and October, 2019: a retrospective, population-based cross-sectional research, The Lancet Public Well being, Quantity 7, Difficulty 7.