Is England meeting the physical and mental health needs of child refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants?
PHE ePoster Library. Stevens A. Sep 12, 2019; 274291; 104
Dr. Amy Stevens
Dr. Amy Stevens
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Abstract There are thousands of child refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants (CRASUM) living in England. CRASUM are exposed to multiple risk factors for poor health throughout their migration experience. International treaties and national legislation recognise CRASUM's ‘right to health' and equitable access to healthcare. Through literature review and policy evaluation this research aimed to determine whether England is meeting CRASUM's physical and mental health needs. The author found that current hard-line immigration policies negatively impact on CRASUM's wider health determinants, exacerbate existing health problems, and increase their experienced health inequalities. Identified health system and service-provider barriers to meeting CRASUM's health needs include: ignorance regarding healthcare entitlement; real or perceived healthcare costs; discrimination; language difficulties; service capacity constraints; lack of clinical expertise; and absent surveillance systems. An evidence-policy gap has contributed to England's failure to meet CRASUM's health needs. Addressing this gap requires a societal shift in value judgement of CRASUM, universal recognition and treatment of them first and foremost as children, review of immigration policies effecting CRASUM's health, and targeted health-system strengthening. CRASUM have many potential health needs but they are also a resilient group with great ‘capacity to benefit'. An evidence-based approach to addressing their health needs should prioritised. External funding details
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