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Personal view - Personal view

Migrant health workers’ access to healthcare

  • By: Caroline Kramarz
  • Published: 24 April 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e2231
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e2231

Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2004, which allowed immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe to work legally in the UK, there have been regular reports of a strain on the UK’s public services.

According to the Office for National Statistics, GPs in England and Wales in 2007-8 had 605 000 new patients registered who were migrants.1 Yet, since 2000 there has only been a 2.3% annual increase in the number of GPs on average,2 so how do we know if these people are receiving adequate care?

These patients often face language barriers so practices might need to book them in for double appointments to explain procedures and treatments. This is usually done through a translator on the phone or a relative of the patient translating.

How can we be sure that migrants are accessing the healthcare services they need, when we don’t know how many of them are

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