In this episode we talk to Dr Felicity Knights who is a GP Academic Clinical Fellow at The Migrant Health Research Group, Institute for Infection and Immunity, St George’s, University of London.
Paper: Impact of COVID-19 on migrants’ access to primary care and implications for vaccine roll out: a national qualitative study
The impact of pandemic-related shifts in primary care delivery on marginalised migrant groups, who may already face major disparities in accessing primary care, is poorly elucidated. We found that the rapid digitalisation of primary care services and physical closure of surgeries during the pandemic have amplified disparities in access to healthcare for specific migrant groups, with many lacking access to and capacity to use technology, compounded by language barriers. Migrants may be at increased risk of misinformation about COVID-19, and face barriers to vaccination, which merits further consideration as COVID-19 vaccine roll out begins. Improved outreach to local migrant community organisations and places of worship, alongside co-designing with migrants more inclusive delivery approaches and creative integration of migrant ambassadors into information- sharing campaigns are needed.
Primary care can maximise the opportunities of digitalisation for migrants through flexible engagement by multiple modalities (e.g. text, email, letter and YouTube videos) to provide targeted, translated advice and information, virtual group consultations for patients with a specific condition, and working with local leaders and NGOs to access and disseminate information through informal communication channels.
Doctors of the World Safe Surgeries Toolkit