Add your voice to the campaign for free healthcare for all refused asylum seekers - Refugee Council
April 26, 2010

Add your voice to the campaign for free healthcare for all refused asylum seekers

Do you think denying refused asylum seekers access to healthcare is unethical and inefficient?This is your chance to do something about it.

Since 2004, refused asylum seekers have been charged for all NHS secondary healthcare. This includes hospital treatment and appointments with specialists for serious illnesses. However, the majority of refused asylum seekers are destitute and not allowed to work, so they do not have the money to pay for such treatment. As a consequence many are denied the medical treatment they need, resulting in unnecessary pain and suffering. Treatable conditions left unattended may become more severe or even terminal.

The Refugee Council supports the recent Department of Health proposal to allow refused asylum seekers receiving UKBA Section 4 or Section 95 support to have free access to all necessary medical treatment. However, under the current proposals refused asylum seekers who are not receiving UBKA support would continue to be charged for secondary health care. A government consultation on this proposal is currently underway and will end on 30th June.

The Refugee Council is calling for all refused asylum seekers to be given full, free access to all NHS services. We believe this is the only ethical and practical solution. You can read the Refugee Council’s draft response to the consultation here.

What you can do:

We want to make sure the Department of Health hears from the people who have been affected by the current regulations – individual asylum seekers, medical professionals, refugee organisations, and others. If you have a story to tell or something to say on this issue, please use this online form to send us your comments. We will use this information in our lobbying and response to the Department of Health consultation. To ensure your comments can be included, please send in your response by Friday 28 May.

Remember – there is no guarantee that the proposal will be adopted by a future government, so your responses will make a difference. Please use this opportunity to add your voice to the campaign for free healthcare for all refused asylum seekers.

If you wish to discuss this issue in more detail, please contact rachel.taylor@refugeecouncil.org.uk or sarah.cutler@refugeecouncil.org.uk.