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Rev Esp Salud Publica. 2014 Jan-Feb;88(1):135-55. doi: 10.4321/S1135-57272014000100009.

[Use of health services for immigrants and native population: a systematic review].

[Article in Spanish]



Spain was among the top immigration destinations globally between 1990 and 2005, becoming in 2006 in the European country with the highest net migration. As a result of the migration process and the living conditions in the host countries, immigrants' health may be affected. Limited research has investigated access and use of health services for this population. The aim of this study was to describe the scientific evidence on the use of general and specialist medical services for the immigrant population compared to the native.


Systematic review. It has carried out a search of the national and international scientific literature of comparative studies on the use of general and specialist medical services among immigrant and native since 1994-2013. It was used the MEDLINE database as well as a manual search, no language limit or type of study. The methodological quality of the 29 studies included was evaluated. Subject, context, methodological and extrinsic characteristics were collected for comparison of the included studies.


We selected 29 studies on the general practitioners' (9 from Spain) and 15 of specialist physician (7 from Spain), they mainly used health surveys as a source of information. Analyze both the attendance and contact with the general practitioner / specialist by nationality or country of birth (among others), mostly by adjusting variables of need and / or socioeconomic.


Overall, the immigrant population in Spain have a similar use of general medical services than the native population, and less or similar use of the specialist physician services. These results are in line with studies in other countries.

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