UK policies deter asylum seekers from accessing medical help


In November 2018 the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that asylum seekers have been deterred from seeking medical help in Scotland and Wales since the UK government began forcing the English NHS to charge upfront in 2017 and by fears that medical personnel will comply with Home Office orders to forward their data. The commission, along with health charities and the Labour and LibDem political parties, called for the policy to be suspended. The Home Office policy of moving asylum seekers around the country also hinders their access to medical care, particularly for pregnant women, children, and those with chronic conditions. The Home Office had suspended data-sharing earlier in 2018, and said that asylum seekers have full and free access to the NHS, and supported asylum seekers get free prescriptions and travel costs.

Writer: Denis Campbell

Publication: Guardian

Publication date: 2018-11-30