Healthcare, Mobilities and National Health Systems

Workshop at Lancaster University, 10 January 2020

Modern medicine is a practice regulated by state authorities, where healthcare is channelled through national systems designed to treat people who live primarily settled lives. Contemporary healthcare systems face a range of challenges, from the impact of austerity to continuing financial resource constraints, political tensions and the evolving nature of patient populations, which are becoming more diverse and less settled. In the context of such shifts across Europe, practitioners are increasingly caring for mobile populations, for example migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and homeless persons who (a) present with health problems associated with displacement and poverty; (b) lack regular legal status and/or permanent address, complicating access to care.

This workshop is the first in a series of three research and networking events funded by the Wellcome Trust within the framework of the Doctors within Borders project (Oct 1, 2019-Sept 30, 2020). The project’s objectives are to (a) establish a sustainable network of collaborators that will explore the shifting responses of the medical community to the challenges posed by human mobility in healthcare and, (b) develop a new research agenda in health and mobilities research, including people-centred and mobile methods, to improve the comprehension of healthcare services from the perspective of migrant patients.

At this time, we seek contributions to the first workshop from members of the migrant community, members of advocacy groups, researchers (any career stage) and medical practitioners, to share your experiences and research in relation to the theme of Healthcare, Mobilities and National Health Systems. In particular, we are hoping to bring together two perspectives. Firstly, how do refugees, persons with an unsettled immigration status and persons without a fixed address access healthcare? What challenges do they experience? Secondly, how do practitioners go about delivering care to those groups? What challenges do they experience and what avenues exist for overcoming difficulties?


How to apply?

If your experience and/or research speaks to these questions and you are interested in participating in the workshop, please email a brief Statement of Interest outlining:

1)      Your personal/professional/research experience and how it connects to the theme of the workshop.

2)      Your proposed contribution to the workshop. This can take the form of a traditional paper abstract, but it can also be a brief description of any relevant activities, programs or initiatives that you are involved in and would like to share.

Please email your Statement of Interest to with the subject heading ‘Doctors/Borders Workshop’ by 6 November 2019. We will finalize the list of participants shortly thereafter and you will be informed of the outcome by the following week. There is no fee for the workshop. For invited participants, the organizers will cover travel (within the UK and in some cases Europe) and room and board.


What happens next?

In order to maximize the time for discussion at the workshop, the format will involve pre-circulated contributions. Therefore invited participants will be asked to submit a 2000 word impulse paper by December 13, 2019. By ‘impulse paper’ we mean an impulse for discussion, that is a brief summary of research findings or account of experiences within the healthcare system, a proposal, hypothesis or field notes that speak to the theme of the workshop. We welcome contributions in an alternative format, for example slides, other visuals or audio material. This opportunity may be attractive particularly to participants who do not work in textual fields.

Doctors within Borders Workshop 1 – Call for Participants