New Guide on General Practice Care for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Monday, 29 January 2007

Doctors in Galway are to benefit from a new guide on treating asylum seekers and refugees compiled by the HSE, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group. The forty-five page 'Information Pack for GPs in Galway on General Practice Care for Asylum Seekers and Refugees', offers information on the broad range of health needs of asylum seekers and refugees, and a comprehensive list of local support organizations and services.

The document also provides relevant information on issues such as women's health, male circumcision, torture, communicable disease assessment and immunisation. GPs will also have a template and guide for completing medico-legal reports used in the asylum determination process in supporting a history of physical or mental abuse or torture. If it proves successful, the guide may be adapted for use nationally.

The guide was launched by Priya Prendergast, Local Health Manager HSE West, at a recent conference in Galway, entitled 'Participation of Ethnic Minority Communities in Primary Care Service Design, Planning and Delivery'. Its author, Dr Hans-Olaf Pieper is a Fellow in Asylum Seeker and Refugee Healthcare, a position funded by HSE Western Area Primary Care Department in partnership with the Department of General Practice, NUI Galway and the Galway Refugee Support Group.

Speaking at the launch Priya Prendergast said: "This document provides a wealth of useful information and templates for specialist services. It also provides contact details of support organisations and useful templates for specialist services. By providing brief, practical and useful information, GPs will find this a useful tool for caring for asylum seekers and refugees. We will be interested in finding out how Galway GPs find and use the guide".

Dr. Pieper has worked extensively with asylum seekers and refugees as a General Practitioner. "GPs need more support in their care for asylum seekers and refugees who present a broad range of health needs requiring specific specialist skills and information," he said. "There is support out there for doctors in the form of translation agencies and support organisations but often we are not aware. This new guide will bring this information to the doctors' fingertips".

It is envisaged to update the guide regularly and, if it proves to be successful, to encourage adapting the guide to local needs in other parts of the country with a view of disseminating it nationally as an example of good practice. It is planned to evaluate the use of the guide at a later stage of 2007.

Further information can be obtained from Dr Hans-Olaf Pieper on ho.pieper@nuigalway.ie

ENDS

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