Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) Germany’s new leaflet
This leaflet is part of that project. It is meant to inform the public of what the partners do and why and to raise awareness of the hardships encountered by people who have limited access to the healthcare system.
In Germany over the past decade, MdM Germany has offered free medical care and counselling to people with little or no access to the healthcare system. This is a matter of some urgency, as, officially, about 80,000 men, women and children in Germany have no healthcare coverage. The actual “unofficial” figure is far higher. However, even some people who do have insurance, such as many homeless persons, occasionally have difficulty accessing the healthcare system.
Norway – Health centre for Undocumented Migrants
The Norwegian partner, Health Centre for Undocumented Migrants came up with this short leaflet in order to give information regarding rights and access to healthcare for undocumented migrants in Norway. The health centre for undocumented migrant is an association that provides health care and health information to undocumented migrants. The health centre is based on volunteerism with a small staff facilitating and organizing the activities. The centre is providing drop-in and more planned services, giving interdisciplinary primary health care.
Click here to access the leaflet
Age assessment for unaccompanied minors: when European countries deny children their childhood.
This policy paper written by the Doctors of the World International Network (DRI) analises the European framework on age assessment of unaccompanied minors. There is a legal basis for intervention by the European Commission towards EU Member States based on testimonies collected on age assessment performed without informed consent, on invasive methods used (e.g. genital examination) or on minors not being explained the possibility to appeal the conclusions of an age assessment.
Click here to read the report
Health professionals may not feel comfortable in providing care to marginalized populations with complex physical, mental and social problems. However, people facing multiple vulnerabilities have higher needs than the general population. The data collected by Médecins du monde over the years show how both their perceived and diagnosed health needs are worse, as they face social determinants that negatively impact their health.
Health professionals should be supported in taking care of all patients regardless of their administrative status. One of the priorities of our Network is to convince health professionals to be our allies in advocacy and changes in healthcare practice. Healthcare professionals are not only on the front line of access to healthcare, but they also constitute an influential group which can obtain positive changes. Whenever healthcare providers decided to change practices in order to ensure a fairer access to healthcare, the laws and regulations followed, as there was enough evidence based arguments that these changes had been positive for the whole society.
Based on the 2015 legal analysis on access to healthcare and data collection throughout 2014, short leaflets about the rights of specific groups facing multiple vulnerability factors to access healthcare were produced specifically for health professionals in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany:
- Access to healthcare in the UK, 2015
- Access to healthcare in the Netherlands, 2015
- Access to healthcare in Germany, 2015
GREECE => Click here to access recent legal development impacting on people facing vulnerabilities in health, 2015
REDER report on exclusion of healthcare in Spain- 10/2015
In Spain, adult undocumented migrants have been excluded from essential healthcare since Royal Decree-Law 16/2012 came into effect in September 2012. Undocumented pregnant women and children were explicitly exempted by this new law, yet they too have been frequently denied access to essential services since the decree came into force: the political message on exclusion of undocumented migrants was stronger than the law.
A nationwide network co-hosted by MdM Spain, www.reder162012.org, has just released a new report about the impact of the 2012 legal changes that changed universal healthcare coverage into a work-based system, accompanied by video testimonies of patients.
On a sample of 1,567 cases collected between 01/2014 and 07/2015 in 12 autonomous communities:
- Among the people who did not have access to healthcare, there were many cases of cancer (31), cardiovascular disease (38), degenerative muscular disease (14), other types of degenerative diseases (8), 28 other life-threatening conditions if treatment is not granted, and serious mental health problems (27);
- 109 minors and 78 pregnant women were denied access, and 224 individuals were denied emergency care provision. These numbers demonstrate the systematic non-compliance of the protected exceptions in the law.
- Regional responses to remedy to the situation created by the national RDL 16/2012 are not sufficient: 73% of documented cases came from regions with some form of healthcare coverage for the uninsured;
- 12% of the people seen came to ask for help to understand the law. 22% were unaware of the fact that they actually had the right to a health card (in their specific region of residence). 12% were denied a health card despite their right to get one (misinformed administration staff).
REDER calls for the restitution of universal access to healthcare!
In September 2015, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency published its study “Cost of exclusion from healthcare – The case of migrants in an irregular situation”. It aims to estimate the economic cost of providing timely access to screening and treatment for undocumented migrants compared with providing emergency treatment only, in Germany, Greece and Sweden.
The economic model shows that regular access to hypertension prevention results in cost-savings of around 9% in Germany and Greece and about 8% in Sweden, and much more looking at a timeframe of 5 years or more. Providing access to prenatal care may generate savings of up to 48% in Germany and Greece, and up to 69% in Sweden, over the course of two years.