The Chief Inspector of Prisons this week published a report that found serious failings in the provision of healthcare at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre.
There were specific concerns over the provision of healthcare to people who were being detained for longer periods, or those with mental health problems. In total, 48 recommendations were made, and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) were severely criticised for not responding adequately to clinical concerns relating to torture or the medical impact detention might have on detainees.
Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said:
“Underpinning systems were inadequate and the healthcare service was not geared to meet the needs of those with serious health problems or the significant number of detainees held for longer periods.
“This was true for detainees in general and for the care of the two specific detainees whose care had prompted the review.
“This review also adds weight to a growing concern among medical and other commentators that the increased use of immigration detention raises serious concerns about the mental health of detainees, particularly in cases of prolonged detention of uncertain duration and where detainees arrive with underlying health problems.”
Anna Reisenberger, acting Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We have serious misgivings about the failure of detention centres to meet the healthcare needs of detainees. We are particularly concerned about the levels of self-harm, as evidenced by several recent inquests into deaths in detention.
“This report offers yet more evidence that healthcare provision in detention is totally insufficient. It is becoming increasingly apparent, from the raft of reports and inspections, that people should only be detained for immigration purposes in exceptional circumstances. In the meantime, we urge the government to act on the recommendations outlined in this report without delay.”