Transnational healthcare and wellbeing among Polish migrants in the UK
Extending our research conducted under the ‘UK in a Changing Europe’ initiative, this project focuses on the health and care practices of EU migrants. It is crucial to broaden our knowledge of such practices and assess how they are likely to change in light of the uncertainty with regards to international mobility brought by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is important to understand the attitudes and experiences of Polish nationals since they constitute the biggest group of EU (and non-British) population in the UK. Like other EU citizens, Poles are prone to travel back to their country of origin for medical treatment and they often resort to the private sector, in Poland or the UK. As part of this project, we have collected national level primary data on how Poles in the UK manage their health by travelling and by accessing public and private services. In particular, the project focuses on those who are likely to be in continuous contact with health service providers because they are affected by, or are caring for someone with, a long-term condition or disability.
Methodologically, the project consists of two interrelated phases. Firstly, between November 2019 and January 2020, we have gathered both quantitative and qualitative data from 510 Poles living in the UK by the means of an online questionnaire. Informed by this, in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with thirty-two survey respondents. We are currently analysing our data in order to broaden how transnational healthcare is conceptualized, develop our knowledge of health-seeking behaviours that show migrant’s engagements with both states and markets, and deepen our understanding of intergenerational caring practices.
We have also received further funding to collect follow-up interviews with previous interview participants during summer 2021. This will allow us to better understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic year on the lives of Poles living in the UK.