Agenda item

Migrant Health Board Update

To consider the report of the Leeds Migrant Health Board, outlining the Boards purpose to significantly improve health outcomes for Leeds migrant communities by providing a strategic, citywide approach to understanding and addressing migrant health needs in Leeds.


The Leeds Migrant Health Board (LMHB) presented a report outlining the purpose of LMHB to significantly improve health outcomes for Leeds migrant communities by providing a strategic, citywide approach to understanding and addressing migrant health needs in Leeds.


The report included a copy of the first Migrant Health In Leeds: Annual Report 2022-2023 attached as Appendix 1.


The following attended the meeting to present the item -

Catherine Ward – LCC Health Improvement Principal

Caron Walker – LCC Chief Officer (Consultant in Public Health)


The Board was provided with the following information:

·  The LMHB works collaboratively across the health and care system to identify and address the key issues that create inequalities in health between Leeds’ migrant population and the rest of the population of Leeds. The board includes local partners, including the NHS, local authority, voluntary and community partners, and organisations who work directly with asylum seekers and refugees.

·  The current priorities of the Board were outlined as:

Priority 1 - Access for All

Priority 2 - Communication

Priority 3 - Work and Austerity

·  The 2021 Leeds census recorded 811,956 residents, of which 26.6% were ethnic minority groups. 15.8% of the population were identified as being born outside the U.K and 1.5% of the Leeds population arrived in the U.K between 2020-2022. The census also recorded 287 unique ethnicities for Leeds residents and 69 nationalities.

·  Common health challenges amongst the migrant population were identified as maternity care, housing (whether that be hotel accommodation or access to social housing), poorly controlled chronic conditions, mental health issues and communicable diseases.

·  Barriers to health care were also considered which highlighted that migrants had no recourse to public funds for support whilst their asylum claim was processed.

·  Other recent key challenges were identified as being the increase in the number of asylum seekers to the city, pressure on systems/support/specialist services, the pressure on the wider health and care system, health inequalities experienced by migrants and asylum seekers and national policy changes on migration.


During discussions, the following matters were considered:

·  Children & Families – due to the migration policy changes and implementation of new legislation, Leeds Scrutiny Board (Children and Families) would look at the impact of the legislation in detail once the legislation had been in force for 12 months and Guidance published.

·  General Practice – It was acknowledged that asylum seekers and migrants experienced long term health conditions, the health and care system should work towards migrants and asylum seekers having the same access to health services as the rest of the population and General Practice could support that aim.

·  Mapping services – Support for a mapping exercise to identify what services are available in the city and where. Migrants, particularly Asylum Seekers and refugees can find themselves isolated, and it was noted they should have option to gravitate towards their own communities and identity groups. This issue may be difficult to influence as placement or housing allocation was determined centrally by the Government, however, partnership working will assist in developing best practise and lobby for a changed process.

·  Third sector support - The Leeds Community Mental Health Service offered services for refugees which was noted to be challenging due to the refugee population being mobile and often moved to different accommodation without notification. A further challenge was discharge from hospital, dependent on the individual having a home to be discharged to, with there often being no formal address, delaying transfer of care.

·  Identifying health needs - The ICB had wrote a letter to Mears, who co-ordinate asylum housing for the Home Office, to assist with developing a process for determining how and where migrants are settled as there were instances where services were requested without prior knowledge of health needs of the individual, which require time to identify, given that translators were often required.


Noting the recommendations, the Board supported the proposals for the Chair to write a letter highlighting the matters raised in the report and seeking a response from Mears, the Home Office and local providers on the specific challenges highlighted, specifically regarding national policy and location options.



a)  To note the content of the Migrant Health in Leeds Annual Report 2022 – 2023.

b)  The Board to seek further feedback and assurance from Mears, the Home Office and local providers on the specific challenges highlighted in this report.

c)  To support collaborative work with housing leads across the city to address housing need.

d)  To note that the Board re-states it’s commitment to support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers despite current financial challenges, and ensure that decisions don’t widen the health inequalities they face.

e)  To work with partners across the city to raise awareness around the health needs and challenges that migrants, refugees and asylum seekers face.

f)  To recognise and support the invaluable work of third sector organisations, including PAFRAS and LASSN, in ensuring the voice of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers informs our work.

g)  To acknowledge the compassionate, committed and dedicated work undertaken by partners and volunteers in Leeds to support migrants access the services that are a basic right.


Supporting documents: