Many healthcare professionals are confronted in their practice with migrants who don’t have a valid residence permit. With this study, we want to provide more insight in the health problems and healthcare consumption of this group.
Retrospective file study.
Data were taken from files created by municipal health-service physicians when medically screening people who present to the municipality to apply for 24-hour shelter on the basis of their health condition. Symptoms and disorders were coded according to the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC), and use of medication according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification (ATC).
The study population consisted of 356 people, mainly men, 39 years of age on average (range: 18-80 years). Compared with the total population of people without a valid residence permit who presented to the municipality (n = 1010), in the study population both women (25.6%) and people in age categories above 45 years of age (32.0%) were overrepresented. At the time of screening, 45.2% had a regular, stable place of residence. Most people without a valid residence permit (98.6%) reported one or more health problems. Psychological symptoms, such as stress (78.5%), insomnia (69.7%) and feelings of depression, were the most common ones. At the same time, many people without a valid residence permit were receiving medical care (86.8%).
A majority of people without a valid residence permit who present to apply for 24-hour shelter have health problems. Stress and other psychological symptoms are the most common ones. At the same time, a large part is receiving adequate care. This means that barriers to care, at least in Amsterdam, do not seem too high.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.