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Views of general practitioners towards refugees and asylum seekers: an interview study

Current UK government policy is to disperse refugees throughout the country, which creates resource and other issues for healthcare providers in primary care. This study aimed to identify some of the concerns of 17 general practitioners (GPs) working in an urban environment. Approximately halfworked in practices that received high numbers of refugees and asylum seekers while the others did not. Emistructured interviews were undertaken, transcribed and analysed using a thematic framework. Five emergent themes were identified: the political logistics and the asylum process; community  issues; the impact on primary care; resources and resource management; and training needs within primary care. This study shows that GPs are aware of, and sympathetic towards, the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, although many of them experience significant difficulties in fully meeting the needs of this population, such as psychological needs. Primary care requires additional support, education and training, and resources to efficiently provide for this patient group. 

Author(s): Paramjit S Gill, Huma Begg

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