Ethics of care in supporting disabled forced migrants: interactions with professionals and ethical dilemmas in health and social care in the South-East of England

Article English OPEN
Ottosdottir, Gudbjorg ; Evans, Ruth (2014)
  • Publisher: Oxford Journals
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcu048
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: health care economics and organizations

This article explores the interactions between disabled forced migrants with care needs and professionals and the restrictive legal, policy and practice context that health and social care professionals have to confront, based on the findings of a qualitative study with 45 participants in the South-East of England. In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 forced migrants who had diverse impairments and chronic illnesses (8 women and 7 men), 13 family caregivers and 17 support workers and strategic professionals working in social care and the third sector in Slough, Reading and London. The legal status of forced migrants significantly affects their entitlements to health and social care provision, resulting in prolonged periods of destitution for many families. National asylum support policies, difficult working relationships with UK Border Agency, higher eligibility thresholds and reduced social care budgets of local authorities were identified as significant barriers in responding to the support needs of disabled forced migrants and family caregivers. In this context, social workers experienced considerable ethical dilemmas. The research raises profound questions about the potential and limitations of health and social care policies, provision, and practice as means of protection and support in fulfilling the human rights of forced migrants with care needs.
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