Publications & Reports

Rites of passage: improving refugee access to general practice services.

Cheng, I-H. Vasi, S. Wahidi, S. Russell, G


Background Refugees in Australia experience barriers in accessing healthcare services. The aim of this study was to analyse the factors influencing Afghan refugees’ access to general practice.

Methods A qualitative study on a single general practice in south-east Melbourne in 2013 was conducted. Data were collected using individual, semi-structured interviews and field observations. Data were analysed thematically and informed by the Penchansky and Thomas concept of access.

Results The general practice utilised multiple strategies to improve access for refugees. Nevertheless, persistent barriers included language and cultural differences at reception, difficulties with transport to the practice, long wait times and the cost of care.

Discussion This case study highlights the benefits of providing affordable, co-located, culturally responsive services with integrated interpreter and settlement agency support. Increasing the use of interpreters and translated materials at reception, and improving the coordination of patient transport assistance could enhance refugees’ access to general practice.

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  • Journal: Australian Family Physician. 44 (7): 503-7
  • Published: 01/07/2015
  • Volume: 44
  • Issue: 7
  • Pagination: 503-507


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