With over one billion people on the move globally, the healthcare of international migrants is increasingly important in the design and delivery of health services. COVID-19 had a greater impact on minoritised ethnic populations and migrants in England. However, we do not know how COVID-19 has affected preconception (women’s health before pregnancy), maternal (women’s health during pregnancy) and child health, or how being a migrant, not speaking English as a first language or belonging to a particular ethnic group may lead to inequalities in care.
The need for interpretation services is a good way to identify if someone is an international migrant as shown by data from the Migration Observatory which indicate that only 1% of people born in the UK require an interpreter. Although this may not identify all migrants, individuals who require an interpreter are likely to represent the most overlooked and at risk migrant groups.
We will look at the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare use, and rates of illness and death of children and women of childbearing age who require an interpreter, compared to those who do not require an interpreter.
Examples of the topics that we will study include:
- Primary care (general practice) use
- Referrals to secondary care (hospital specialists)
- Diagnosis of existing health conditions
- COVID-19 vaccination rates
- Death rates
Our findings will provide new information concerning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on preconception, maternal and child health among individuals whose first language isn’t English and require an interpreter. This group includes people who have migrated to the UK, and their children and grandchildren. Throughout this study, we will consult with members of the public who have lived experience of migration in order to further refine and guide the focus of our research. This knowledge will help us develop recommendations on how to improve policies affecting how services are delivered to meet the needs of this population.