Career focus: Working with refugees and asylum seekers
Peter von Kaehne is a general practitioner working with refugees in Glasgow. He tells you what you need to consider if you are thinking of working with this challenging yet needy group of people
“A neighbour came and drank the bottle of wine from home, so I got you some French wine for Christmas, I hope you will like it anyway,” the lady said. Being given presents from patients is probably always a humbling and possibly embarrassing experience, but when your patients live on vouchers valued at two thirds of the lowest level of income support and get wine sent from home just to give it to you, it becomes even more so.
My patients are all refugees or asylum seekers, and I am one of five salaried general practitioners in Glasgow caring for one of the larger contingents of dispersed refugees. Two of us work at one medical centre (the other three are elsewhere in the city) and our practice has a list size of about 5000, with 1800 refugees on the list. Both of us work mostly with the refugees, while the