HEAR: The health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers in Wales

Contact details

Ashra Khanom - a.khanom@swansea.ac.uk

Principal / Lead investigator

Helen Snooks

Co-investigators / research team

Dr Ashra Khanom, Professor Ann John, Dr Alison Porter, , Matthew Jones, Dr Ather Hussain, Dr Victoria Williams, Rebecca Scott, Cathrin Manning, Dr Melody Rhydderch, Rocio Cifuentes, Tracey Sherlock, Samuel Moyo and Grace Rungua

Type of study

Primary study


Public Health Wales have asked Swansea University to find out how asylum seekers and refugees access health care from the National Health Service (NHS) in Wales. During the HEAR study, Swansea University have worked with Public Health Wales, Welsh charities to find out how people access NHS services, what problems they may have, and what has worked well for people. We also interviewed health professionals for their views.

How could this research potentially benefit patients?

We think that collecting information directly from asylum seekers and refugees will help improve NHS services. By them contributing answers, thoughts and feelings, they will help us to gain a better understanding of a patient’s experience of NHS care.

Public / patient involvement

Our PPI representatives attended study meetings, assisted in data collection and will input the review of the final report.


Public Health Wales   

Total grant value

£ 44,956

Amount accruing to Wales

£ 44,956

Start date


End date


Further information (e.g. related web link)
Outputs generated (Reports / Publications / Impact) 

News story, April 2019:

Findings from the 'Health Experiences of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Wales (HEAR)' study led by PRIME researchers at Swansea University have been published in a new Public Heath Wales report.

The study found that people seeking sanctuary, including refugees and asylum seekers, are struggling to access health and wellbeing services in Wales.

People seeking sanctuary reported feeling their needs were not recognised, and that they had experienced problems navigating through services, including language difficulties and a lack of appropriate interpretation. 

Some respondents said the stress of being an asylum seeker or refugee contributed to their poor physical and mental health. 

In a survey conducted as part of the HEAR study, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents said they did not know how to contact, or had not heard of, the 999 ambulance service.

Read full story and report on the Public Health Wales website