Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Influence of the social determinants of health on access to healthcare services among refugees in Australia

Jessica Taylor A C and Greer Lamaro Haintz A A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Deakin University, School of Health and Social Development, Geelong Waterfront Campus, Locked Bag 20001, Geelong, Vic. 3220, Australia.

B BCentre for Health through Action on Social Exclusion (CHASE), Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: jessica.e.taylor1@gmail.com

Australian Journal of Primary Health - https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16147
Submitted: 12 November 2016  Accepted: 9 September 2017   Published online: 13 December 2017

Abstract

Refugees in Australia are not fully utilising the healthcare system for several reasons and this may be affecting their overall health outcomes. This qualitative systematic review examined the influence of the social determinants of health on refugees’ access to healthcare services in Australia. Electronic databases were searched using terms relating to refugees, social determinants, healthcare services, barriers, enablers and Australia. Only peer-reviewed studies published in English since 2006, which focused on refugees and specifically discussed social determinants influencing refugees’ access to healthcare services in Australia, were included. The studies were critically analysed using standard Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Tools. Eight studies were included in the review. Findings reveal multiple factors influence refugees’ access to healthcare in Australia, and these can be conceptualised within a social-ecological model of health; that is, they operate across individual, interpersonal, environmental, organisational and policy levels. The novel finding of this review was the re-occurrence of similar influences across multiple healthcare service settings in Australia. The prevalence and re-occurring nature of the social determinants of health suggests that refugees are experiencing multilayered barriers to accessing Australian healthcare. All levels of a social-ecological model must be addressed in any attempt to break down these barriers.


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