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Rejecting and accepting international migrant patients into primary care practices: a mixed method study

Lorena Mota (School of Population & Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Maureen Mayhew (School of Population & Public Health/Department of Family Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada and Bridge Community Health Clinic, Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver, Canada)
Karen J. Grant (Bridge Community Health Clinic, Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver, Canada)
Ricardo Batista (Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Kevin Pottie (Centre for Global Health/Institute of Population Health/ C.T. Lamont Centre for Research in Primary Care/Department of Family Medicine/Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 15 June 2015

Abstract

Purpose

International migrants frequently struggle to obtain access to local primary care practices. The purpose of this paper is to explore factors associated with rejecting and accepting migrant patients into Canadian primary care practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Mixed methods study. Using a modified Delphi consensus approach among a network of experts on migrant health, the authors identified and prioritized factors related to rejecting and accepting migrants into primary care practices. From ten semi-structured interviews with the less-migrant-care experienced practitioners, the authors used qualitative description to further examine nuances of these factors.

Findings

Consensus was reached on practitioner-level factors associated with a reluctance of practitioners to accept migrants − communication challenges, high-hassle factor, limited availability of clinicians, fear of financial loss, lack of awareness of migrant groups, and limited migrant health knowledge – and on factors associated with accepting migrants − feeling useful, migrant health education, third party support, learning about other cultures, experience working overseas, and enjoying the challenge of treating diseases from around the world. Interviews supported use of interpreters, community resources, alternative payment methods, and migrant health education as strategies to overcome the identified challenges.

Research limitations/implications

This Delphi network represented the views of practitioners who had substantive experience in providing care for migrants. Interviews with less-experienced practitioners were used to mitigate this bias.

Originality/value

This study identifies the facilitators and challenges of migrants’ access to primary care from the perspective of primary care practitioners, work that complements research from patients’ perspectives. Strategies to address these findings are discussed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors received funding for the research and authorship of this paper from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

Citation

Mota, L., Mayhew, M., Grant, K.J., Batista, R. and Pottie, K. (2015), "Rejecting and accepting international migrant patients into primary care practices: a mixed method study", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 108-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-04-2014-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited