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A health needs assessment for asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in Southampton and Portsmouth, November, 2019.


We are grateful to Rebecca Wilkingson, Public Health Registrar, who compiled this report on behalf of the Wessex Global Health Network's Refugee Health Subgroup

If you would like to print the full report, please follow this link.


Full Report: Introduction


Asylum Seekers (AS) are forced migrants. They have escaped persecution or conflict in their home countries and are seeking protection in another country. Their experiences before leaving their country of origin, on their journey and during the process of seeking asylum, have particular implications for their health and wellbeing. This assessment looks specifically at AS, and other vulnerable migrants such as failed AS, because their health needs tend to be greater and more complex than other categories of migrant1. (See Appendix for definitions of different types of migrant). 

The aim of this assessment is to gather information on the health needs of AS (both adults and children) living in the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth and to describe the relevant services, and any gaps in those services, in order to make recommendations to better meet their needs. This aim is supported by the following objectives:- 

  • • Collate relevant national and local epidemiological data 
  • • Review the relevant literature and consult with local stakeholders (including AS themselves) on the health needs of AS and other vulnerable migrants 
  • • Gather information on the key services that are currently available to support the health and wellbeing of AS in Southampton and Portsmouth 
  • • Explore best practice service provision in comparator areas 

This assessment has been guided by a steering group made up of a subgroup of the Wessex Global Health Network. Rather than covering the whole of Wessex, the scope has been limited to Southampton and Portsmouth as these local authorities are the only ones in Wessex to accept ASi. With rising pressure on the UK Government to achieve a more equitable distribution of AS across the country2, it seems likely that other local authorities will be accepting AS in the future and, therefore, the findings of this assessment may become increasingly relevant to other areas in Wessex. 

Local authorities choose whether they will allow asylum seekers to be housed in accommodation in their area; Southampton and Portsmouth are two of just 150 (out of 453) local authorities who have agreed to accept AS84

This report begins with a description of the methodologies used followed by epidemiological data describing the numbers of AS living locally. The health needs of AS in Southampton and Portsmouth, identified from relevant literature and local stakeholder consultation, are then discussed. Next is a summary of key local services followed by a description of ‘what works’ which is informed by looking at best practice locally and elsewhere. Finally, the information from the assessment is used to analyse where the gaps in service are and to make recommendations for better meeting the health needs of AS. 

A health needs assessment should be a tool for change so it is intended that the recommendations in this document are converted into an action plan to be adopted by the relevant organisations in Southampton and Portsmouth.


Report Contents


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