Migration and Health: My Churchill Fellowship

It’s six months since I found out I had been successful in securing funding from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to travel to Sweden, Germany, and Italy to explore how GPs are meeting the health needs of refugees and asylum seekers.

My project will try to go some way in answering the question: What can the UK learn from how general practice in Sweden, Germany, and Italy has responded to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers?

The project topic brings together my interest in refugee and asylum seeker issues, having previously volunteered for a number of years at a weekly ‘drop-in’ for refugees and asylum seekers in Stockport, and how public services can best meet their needs. In 2010 I had the opportunity to travel to Copenhagen to undertake research into how the local authority and partner agencies were ‘managing’ ethnic diversity, including responding to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, in the city. A great opportunity that whet my appetite for researching overseas…

More recently, in my role as Analyst Team Leader at the Care Quality Commission, where I lead qualitative analysis for the Primary Medical Services (PMS) sector, I have developed an interest in and appreciation of the challenges GPs face in meeting the needs of people whose circumstances make them vulnerable. Leading the qualitative research and analysis to inform CQC’s report The State of Care in General Practice 2014-17 and, in particular, interviewing inspection colleagues, gave me new insight into the variation in quality of care received by different patient groups and the difficult context in which GPs are working.

Through the fantastic opportunity that the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship presents, I hope to increase my own understanding of the health and social care needs of refugees and asylum seekers and learn how these needs are being met by GPs abroad with a view to translating learning to the UK. After months of Googling, planning, emailing, and pestering(!) contacts across Europe, I’m on the cusp of starting my research and excited to be dusting off my Dictaphone.

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