Article Text


Engaging migrants and other stakeholders to improve communication in cross-cultural consultation in primary care: a theoretically informed participatory study


Objectives Guidelines and training initiatives (G/TIs) are available to support communication in cross-cultural consultations but are rarely implemented in routine practice in primary care. As part of the European Union RESTORE project, our objective was to explore whether the available G/TIs make sense to migrants and other key stakeholders and whether they could collectively choose G/TIs and engage in their implementation in primary care settings.

Setting As part of a comparative analysis of 5 linked qualitative case studies, we used purposeful and snowball sampling to recruit migrants and other key stakeholders in primary care settings in Austria, England, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Participants A total of 78 stakeholders participated in the study (Austria 15, England 9, Ireland 11, Greece 16, Netherlands 27), covering a range of groups (migrants, general practitioners, nurses, administrative staff, interpreters, health service planners).

Primary and secondary outcome measures We combined Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) and Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) research to conduct a series of PLA style focus groups. Using a standardised protocol, stakeholders' discussions about a set of G/TIs were recorded on PLA commentary charts and their selection process was recorded through a PLA direct-ranking technique. We performed inductive and deductive thematic analysis to investigate sensemaking and engagement with the G/TIs.

Results The need for new ways of working was strongly endorsed by most stakeholders. Stakeholders considered that they were the right people to drive the work forward and were keen to enrol others to support the implementation work. This was evidenced by the democratic selection by stakeholders in each setting of one G/TI as a local implementation project.

Conclusions This theoretically informed participatory approach used across 5 countries with diverse healthcare systems could be used in other settings to establish positive conditions for the start of implementation journeys for G/TIs to improve healthcare for migrants.

  • cross-cultural consultation
  • migrant health
  • community involvement

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.