Intended for healthcare professionals


Ukraine war: GPs get updated guidance on treating refugees and returning citizens

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: (Published 14 March 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o671
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

GPs have received updated guidance on providing healthcare to people coming from Ukraine.1

In a bulletin to general practices on 10 March notifying them of the update from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, NHS England said that the health service was starting to see refugees and citizens returning from Ukraine and reminded practices that proof of identity is not required for registration at a practice.2

The guidance advises practices to explain to people coming from Ukraine how the NHS works and their entitlements to healthcare, to ensure that they are up to date with the UK immunisation schedule, and to ask about any travel plans they may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin.

GPs are also advised to:

  • Screen all new entrants, including children, for tuberculosis

  • Ascertain any risk factors for hepatitis B infection that may indicate the need for screening (owing to its low prevalence in the UK)

  • Consider screening for hepatitis C, because of a considerably higher prevalence in Ukraine than in the UK

  • Ensure that travellers are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on preventing enteric fever

  • Consider nutritional and metabolic concerns (anaemia, vitamin D, vitamin A, iodine)

  • Work with a professional interpreter where language barriers are present

  • Consider the effects of culture, religion, and gender on health

  • Assess for mental health conditions, and

  • Refer pregnant women to antenatal care.

In its bulletin to practices NHS England said, “Newly arrived individuals will need help on how to access the NHS, and this will include GP registration as the principle route for accessing services.

“We remind that individuals may struggle to provide proof of ID, address or confirmation of immigration status and their registration requests should be managed sensitively. None of these documents are required for registration, and the inability of any individual to provide them is no reason to refuse registration.”