The UK has experienced waves of migration throughout its history. Migrants have helped support economic growth and post-war recovery, and have produced prominent lawyers, doctors, politicians, and scientists. However, as reported in the recent UK government Racial Disparity Audit, there remain significant differences in education, labour market, and health outcomes across ethnic groups (Cabinet Office, 2017). Those with a South Asian or Black background have on average worse self-reported health and a higher incidence of conditions such as cardiovascular disease than the White British population. At the same time, these groups often show a lower use of specialist NHS services (British Heart Foundation, 2010; Becares, 2013; Evandrou et al, 2016).
In this project we will investigate the relationship between the strength of community ties and the health outcomes of individuals who migrated to England from the Punjab and their children. To do so, we will collect information about Punjabis who arrived in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. The information on names, dates of birth, and places of birth comes from the naturalisation certificates these individuals filled out in order to become naturalised UK citizens, and are publicly available at the National Archives in Kew, London.
Information on these individuals will be sent to NHS Digital, who hold all NHS hospital data, but also have access to digitised birth, marriage and death certificates from the Office for National Statistics. For the first generation British Punjabis, NHS Digital will link information from the naturalisation certificates to the death registry, and to hospital and GP records.
NHS Digital will also identify the children of these first generation British Punjabis using birth and marriage certificates. NHS Digital will similarly link this information, for the second generation, to the death registry and to hospital and GP records.
To protect the confidentiality of the research subjects, we will not see personal information (such as names, full dates of birth, or full address) at the same time as information on health outcomes from NHS Digital. Personal information on the first generation British Punjabis collected by us from the National Archives will be destroyed before we receive the outcomes data from NHS Digital. The personal information on second generation British Punjabis obtained by data linking will never leave NHS Digital and will never be seen by us. We will therefore not be able to trace a particular outcome or event to a particular identifiable individual.
We will have representatives from the British Punjabi community on our research advisory board to ensure that the community is represented during the project. This will ensure that we address questions relevant to health of the Punjabi community, and that we address any concerns when they arise.
If you would like to be kept updated about the project, including information on how to opt out if you think you might be part of the cohort, please sign up here (checking the box entitled "Ethnic integration and health project").