The wellbeing of individuals at risk of vulnerability, including asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, is of great concern for research, policy, and practice. It is thought to be worse than that of the general population. There are significant barriers to accessing care and treatment. Yet very little data on such individuals exists. One exception comes from questionnaires about service users of a clinic-based advocacy programme, run by Doctors of the World UK, providing care, information and practical support to people at risk of vulnerability, a majority of whom are undocumented migrants and refused asylum seekers.
In a pilot project, the research team cleaned, pooled, harmonised and briefly analysed this data about over 8,000 consultations between 2011 and 2016, and identified areas for further research and relevance for policy and practice, using inputs from stakeholders and advisory board members.
The pilot project set the foundations for this project, whose main aim is to identify the factors shaping the wellbeing of groups at risk of vulnerability for the years 2011-2018. The approach is based on co-production and a comprehensive analysis of secondary quantitative data (adding an additional year); in-depth interviews with the volunteers completing the questionnaire during consultations; and analysis of free-text notes from the questionnaires.
This novel project will generate unique knowledge and understanding of the circumstances of a hard to reach population, the impact of the hostile environment, and provide evidence supporting the development of appropriate research, policy, and practice responses to the wellbeing of populations at risk of vulnerability.