Health Professionals


26 January 2011

New online Migrant Health Guide available on Health Protection Agency website

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has launched a new, freely available online resource to support primary care practitioners looking after patients who have come to live in the UK from abroad.

The Migrant Health Guide ( brings together in one place for the first time a wide variety of information and resources that will be of value to practitioners and their migrant patients. The guide was developed with the input of many individuals and has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Nursing. Although the focus of the HPA is on communicable diseases, the guide covers a broad range of health issues relevant to migrants, and concentrates on the additional health needs that they may have compared to those born in the UK.

It is organised in four main sections;

  • General information: language interpretation services, cultural competence and understanding, entitlements to NHS care, spirituality, religion and health beliefs, and vulnerable migrants.
  • Countries A-Z: specific information on more than 100 countries of origin of migrants to the UK. Each page is arranged in five subpages covering general background about the country, infectious diseases, nutritional and metabolic concerns, children’s health and women’s health. 
  • Health topics: guides to a range of infectious diseases and other health concerns and including, where available, patient resources in English and other languages.
  • Assessing migrant patients: information and checklist for assessing the health needs of new migrant patients. This section also contains information on assessing patients with symptoms that has been adapted from the NaTHNaC publication 'Health Information for Overseas Travel'. 

Migrant patients who travel back to their family’s country of origin (visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travellers) are at higher risk than other travellers for several infections including enteric fever and malaria [1]. The new Guide recommends taking every opportunity to enquire about travel plans during consultations for other matters, to ensure that VFR travellers receive appropriate advice, and links to the NaTHNaC site for that advice.

The HPA welcomes feedback about this new resource ( ), especially suggestions for improvement to ensure it meets the needs of practitioners and reflects the global movements of people.


1. Health Protection Agency: Foreign travel-associated illness – a focus on those visiting friends and relatives: 2008 report. Available at



HPA Migrant Health Guide information leaflet (944KB PDF)