Vulnerable people

Access to the adequate health care can be a challenge for vulnerable people such as unemployed or poor people, undocumented migrants, inhabitants of isolated regions, homeless, disabled people, etc. As a consequence of the economic crisis, health systems reforms were undertaken by the Member States, some of them disproportionately affecting vulnerable people and reducing access to healthcare services.

Healthcare services should not only be accessible and affordable, but also responsive. This implies services have to be tailored to the needs of people living in poverty and/or at risk of social exclusion.

This could be channelled through the improvement of mainstream services, but also through setting up special initiatives in support of people at risk of poverty and/or social exclusion, or groups already faced with specific disadvantages.

HOPE was involved in several EU co-founded projects aimed at improving healthcare services for vulnerable people such as Migrant Friendly Hospitals, a project where partners agreed to put migrant-friendly, culturally competent health care and health promotion higher on the European health policy agenda and to support other hospitals by compiling practical knowledge and instruments. HOPE was also involved in the NOWHERELAND project aimed at creating a knowledge base for providing, exchanging and developing good practice of healthcare services for undocumented migrants and IPPOCA, whose aim was to improve knowledge and practices implemented by pediatric hospital partners’ health staff in case of a suspected child victim of abuse or maltreatment.


Migrants’ Health

In July 2016, the European Commission put forward two legislative proposals addressing migrants’ health within the framework of the European Agenda for Migration. The Agenda, launched in 2015, aimed to provide Member States with tools to better manage migration needs in all aspects in the immediate period as well as in the medium to long term.
The proposal for a Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the EU and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU covers issues related to emergency care for migrants (article 20 on “General principles for the assessment of special procedural needs” and articles 23 and 24 on “Medical examinations”). The Regulation sets out to regulate migrants’ medical examinations requested for assessing applications for international protection, which shall be carried out by qualified medical professionals designated by the Member State.
The proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast of Directive 2013/33/EU) adds new provisions to ensure that applicants receive the necessary health care which should include, at least, emergency care and essential treatment of illnesses, including serious mental disorders. Moreover, the draft directive also refers to preventive medical treatments, such as vaccinations, and access to health care.HOPE carried out a mapping exercise of good practices in Member States by means of a survey among HOPE members. The good practices selected concern migrants and refugees in their contact with hospital or healthcare services in the fields of care, training, management, financing, etc. The report was published in March 2018.

EU Projects

Improving professional Practice On Child Abuse

Improving Services for Undocumented Migrants in the EU

Migrant Friendly Hospitals