WElome to the NHS for New Migrants

Navigating the NHS – A Resource for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

BEVAN has pioneered a new resource to help refugees and asylum seekers navigate NHS services. The 6-minute animation has been translated into 17 languages and explains how and when to use NHS services from registering with a GP to when to dial 999.

This much needed resource was co funded by organisations who work with migrant communities across the country including the UK Health Security Agency, West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership, COVID Legacy and Equity Partnership, and the Child Health and Wellbeing Network and was coproduced with NHS England and Doctors of the World.

The animation covers how to register with a GP, what kind of help you can get at the pharmacist and when and how to use 111. It also details appropriate use of 999 and A&E services. Also covered is how to access optical, dental care and prescriptions and which services are provided free of charge. The animation features an English language voice over which has been translated into Arabic, Amharic, Albanian, Bengali/ Bangla, Persian Dari, Persian Farsi, Kurdish Sorani, Pashto, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Swahili, Tigriyani, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese. You can watch the animation on the Bevan You Tube Channel and access translated subtitles via settings.

Mat Sidebottom Chief Nurse and Director at Bevan said,

“From our experience of working with refugees and asylum seekers we know that one of the key barriers to health and wellbeing care can be understanding how to access the services available on the NHS. We believe in providing compassionate care to those most in need but sometimes NHS services for those newly arrived in the UK can be difficult to access. For example, knowing when to ‘self-care’ by getting medical advice from a pharmacist or when to make a GP appointment can be far from obvious. Even the term GP is not familiar to many new arrivals in the UK. Add to that a language barrier and NHS services can seem complex and lead to health iniquities.”

Emma Perry Managing Director at Bevan Healthcare added,

“We believe in health, hope and humanity for all and this resource will help breakdown inequalities in accessing care which can further exacerbate social exclusion and lead to a cycle of health problems. For example, there is a common misconception that you cannot register with a GP without a permanent address. This is not true and can lead to many refugees and asylum seekers missing out on crucial primary health care, vaccinations, and screenings. Inappropriate use of NHS services is a significant drain on resources and so by helping refugee and asylum-seeking communities better access NHS, the whole system benefits.”

Dr Yusuf Ciftci, Policy and Advocacy Manager – Participation Lead at Doctors of the World said,

“In our clinics at Doctors of the World UK, we see many patients who need tailored, accessible and translated information about how to access NHS services. Our lived experience experts, National Health Advisors, have been coproducing resources and leaflets to fill in this gap, and have contributed to these animations so that more migrants are familiar about the health services and how to navigate the NHS.”

Dr Leonora Weil and Janine La Rosa, Co-Directors of the COVID Legacy and Equity Partnership, a partnership of UKHSA and NHS said:

“We are delighted to have funded this fantastic initiative developed in partnership to support migrants and refugees access the NHS and its services. Through working and engaging with communities and inclusion health groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that there was a need to highlight how the NHS is for everyone, so that we can provide better care for all and reduce health inequalities longer term so that no one is left behind. We know that this resource will be hugely valuable for those new to our health systems so that they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families”

Dr Yvonne Young, Deputy Director for Health Protection at UKHSA London said:

“It’s essential that all London communities have access to understandable information on how to get the right NHS care for their needs. This is fundamental to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases, ensure nobody misses crucial vaccines and to reduce health inequalities in the city. We’re pleased to have helped support the development of this key resource specifically for asylum seekers and refugees in London, which is available in a range of languages and will help communities in London live in good health.”

Dr Sohail Abbas, Deputy Medical Director, NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and Chair of the Health Inequalities Network, West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership said:

“Becoming a partnership of sanctuary is all about providing safe, welcoming, inclusive and accessible healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers. That means removing barriers and addressing the myths and misconceptions that people have told us exist when it comes to accessing health and care services. By explaining how services work, in a way that we can all understand, this video helps to do just that.”


Watch the animation in full here. Select Your Language in Settings. 


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