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  • Author or Editor: Siân Thomas x
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People seeking asylum often have a range of complex social, emotional and economic needs that may be exacerbated by the hostile reception that they often receive. These needs and the stress of navigating asylum systems leave asylum seekers vulnerable to crisis, with refused asylum seekers particularly vulnerable. Even after receiving settled status of some form, barriers to accessing employment or housing and other services remain, as do the impacts of trauma, abuse, and loss sustained in the country of origin, during flight, or during the wait to receive settled status, again leaving refugees vulnerable to crisis. Early action can both have benefits for the individual asylum seeker and reduce the need for costly crisis interventions. This scoping review explores best practice in early action in the voluntary sector, while identifying gaps in the evidence base.

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Two UK academic centres were commissioned to provide a responsive rapid evidence synthesis service. The service covered topics identified by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services & Delivery Research (NIHR HSDR) programme as priorities for the National Health Service or to inform research commissioning.

Aims and objectives

To describe and evaluate the review teams’ interactions with the evidence users the programme aimed to serve, primarily NHS clinicians, commissioners and managers. We particularly aim to highlight the barriers and facilitators to the impact that this type of programme may have on the uptake and use of research evidence by decision makers.


Narrative review of stakeholder interactions at different stages of the review process: prioritisation and defining scope; dealing with unexpected results; dissemination of findings; and measuring impact, illustrated by examples from the first three years of the service (2014–17).


Timely production of high-quality outputs was facilitated by: initial mapping and scoping of the available published evidence; early engagement with stakeholders to optimise their involvement within limited time and resources; and willingness to consider creative solutions and different ways of working to overcome problems encountered in specific projects.

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