The Health Experiences of Asylum seekers and Refugees (HEAR) study Stakeholder Event
3 June 2019
Dr Ashra Khanom, Health and Care Research Wales Research Fellow at PRIME, Swansea University and lead researcher on the HEAR study, co-hosted the HEAR stakeholder event with Public Health Wales on the 22nd May 2019.
Healthcare professionals and third sector stakeholders gathered for a presentation of the results of the HEAR study and took part in an interactive workshop to discuss future steps towards implementing its recommendations.
Asylum nurses, midwives, GPs and GP receptionists, and people seeking sanctuary joined representatives from the British Red Cross, Welsh Refugee Council and Displaced People in Action to make up an audience of about 50 people from across Wales. The report has been made available in English, Welsh and Arabic.
The event was opened and chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton, who stressed the importance of working to improve health equity of people seeking sanctuary. The main results and recommendations of the HEAR study were then presented by Dr Ashra Khanom and Dr Gill Richardson (Public Health Wales).
These included that in spite of general satisfaction with the health service in Wales, the stress of seeking sanctuary contributed to poor health, and that people seeking sanctuary face barriers in navigating the health service, including lack of appropriate language interpretation and awareness of the full range of services available.
In small groups, attendees discussed actions going forward to meet some of the recommendations: how to improve access to services for this population; how to improve training of health professionals in issues associated with this population; and how to address the social determinants of health.
Some useful suggestions were made, and topics debated, which we hope will encourage attendees to make changes and take action in their workplaces and communities.