An online resource to help GPs and nurses care for patients who have come to live in the UK from overseas has been launched by the Health Protection Agency.
The Migrant Health Guide has been developed to help health care practitioners quickly find advice on assessing and treating migrant patients, who the HPA says sometimes have more complex needs than UK-born patients.
It points out that although most migrants to the UK are healthy, tuberculosis and HIV are more common in some other countries. The new guide offers GPs information on diagnosing and treating TB, HIV and other and non-infectious health problems that are more likely to affect migrants from more than 100 different countries.
Dr Jane Jones, who led the development of the Migrant Health Guide for the HPA, said: “More people in the world are migrating today than at any other point in human history. One consequence of this change is that primary care practitioners in the UK may be caring for patients with health issues with which they are unfamiliar, and they need information and support to be able to do this with confidence.
“As a former GP, I’m aware that busy practitioners do not have the time to do all the internet searching that is currently required to obtain information about the health needs of people from different countries. With the launch of the Migrant Health Guide, doctors and nurses will have at their fingertips a wealth of information and resources on the health issues that are associated with over 100 specific countries – and we have designed the content in such a way that it can be accessed within the confines of a 10-minute consultation.
“Knowing the right issues to consider based in part on a person’s country of origin can mean the difference between a health problem going undetected and the patient accessing appropriate care and support services.”
HPA chairman, Dr David Heymann, added: “Disease doesn’t recognise geographical borders, so it’s crucial that primary care practitioners expand their knowledge of the health issues associated with countries outside the UK if we are to tackle pressing global health issues such as TB, HIV and malaria, to name but a few.”