Policies and practices in the health-related reception of quota refugees in Denmark, Danish Medical Journal 59/1

 

INTRODUCTION: Quota refugees coming to Denmark are mandated refugee status offshore and approximately 500 quota refugees are resettled annually. Upon arrival to Denmark, quota refugees are received directly in the municipalities and municipal caseworkers therefore have the practical responsibility for their health-related reception. The aim of this study was to investigate the health-related reception of quota refugees in Denmark by focusing on the presence of municipal policies and practices, and to test for possible associations with these policies and practices.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study was based on a survey of all Danish municipalities that had received quota refugees after 1 January 2007. A questionnaire was designed on the background of preliminary research. A total 49 of the 58 includable respondents returned the questionnaire, which yielded a response rate of 84%.

RESULTS: We found that 49% of the municipalities had no policies for health-related reception of quota refugees and 69% had no specific policies regarding general practitioners’general health assessment of quota refugees upon their arrival. Disparities between the municipalities were also found regarding their health-related practices. The presence of health-related policies and certain health-related practices were found to be associated with the number of quota refugees received and the size of municipality.

CONCLUSION: Due to the lack of policies and the large responsibility of case workers who are not health professionals, there is a risk that the health needs of this particularly vulnerable group may not be met satisfactorily.