Qualitative Health Research Network


Dr Jessica Potter

Conceptualising access to healthcare: Candidacy - a revised formulation

Seminar details

Dr Jessica Potter presented a QHRN seminar in February 2020. 

Title: Conceptualising access to healthcare: Candidacy - a revised formulation

Date: Friday 28th February

Time: 12:00-13:00

Location: University College London (Bloomsbury Campus). Room: Archaeology G6 LT. Building: Gordon Square, 31-34 & 14 Taviton Street.


Healthcare access is of central importance to early disease detection and treatment thus affecting the health and well being of individuals and populations.  However, researching healthcare access is hampered by lack of a broadly applicable conceptual understanding.  In this seminar we will discuss what is meant by 'healthcare access' and consider the methods available to study it. In particular we will focus on 'candidacy' - a construct derived from a critical interpretive synthesis of literature on health service accessibility for vulnerable groups by Dixon-Woods and colleagues. The authors’ description of how an individual becomes a candidate for care facilitates a complex understanding of healthcare access as a dynamic, contextual, social process.  Reviewing literature which has applied candidacy, and bringing in analysis of my PhD research exploring migrants' experiences of accessing healthcare in the UK, I draw out an extended and abstracted formulation of candidacy.  The empirical data I draw upon includes 14 biographic narrative interviews with migrants and 10 in-depth interviews with health service gatekeepers. 


@DrJessPotter is a Respiratory doctor working in East London. She recently completed an MRC-funded PhD exploring access to healthcare for migrants with TB in the UK. Alongside her research, Jess campaigns with a number of grass roots organisations to improve healthcare access for migrants in the UK.  She has spoken about these issues on radio and television and written in the national press. She was presented with the Champion Award at the Women on the Move Awards in 2019 for her work on the #PatientsNotPassports campaign.