The rapid increase in the immigrant population in the past five years from 4.3% to 13.4% of the total population has no precedent in Catalonia. In addition, its origin is very diverse: immigrants come from places such as Morocco, Ecuador, Romania, Colombia, Bolivia and China. This situation poses a challenge for public services, particularly for health services.
There were significant concerns regarding the system capacity to meet the new needs and also its responsiveness to the differential characteristics of this population -i.e. ill-health perception, language, culture, religion and lifestyles -that could create barriers to health services, having a negative impact on health and the quality of care. As a response to the new situation, the Catalonian Health Department created the Immigration Master Plan for Health (PDI) in order to improve the health of the immigrant population by addressing its needs for care. PDI’s specific objectives encompass the analysis of immigrants’ health needs and health care utilisation, improved access to health services and the integration of the immigrants. Regarding the latter, there are three main strategies: reception of the immigrant population, providing information on the health system through different means and institutions; intercultural mediation and translation services, facilitating cultural and linguistic communication; and finally, training health personnel so as to improve communication, cultural and technical specific skills.
Catalonia’s health policy for immigrants represents a quick and innovative approach to a new situation and seems to address potential problems for newcomers’ access to and utilisation of health services. Its impact will depend on its efficacious implementation, which should be adequately evaluated.
|Award category:||public service delivery|
|Sector:||Public health and social welfare/affairs|
|Type of activity:|
|Keywords:||Migration, health care services, access|
|Short English description:||Catalonia’s health policy for immigrants represents a quick and innovative approach to a new situation and seems to address potential problems for newcomers’ access to and utilisation of health services|
|Organisation:||Catalan Ministry of Health|
|Level of government:||regional level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:|
|EU membership:||EU member|