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Release of vulnerable people from immigration detention is often medically unsafe and chaotic, says charity

Vulnerable people released from immigration detention in the UK are too often left without crucial continuity of care, leading to quickly deteriorating health, concludes a report.

The report comes from Medical Justice, a charity that sends independent volunteer clinicians into immigration removal centres across the UK to offer medical advice and assessments to immigration detainees.

The charity said that between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021 a total of 21 362 people were detained in UK immigration centres and 17 283 were released into the community, having been granted bail or leave to enter the UK or remain. Of these, 2239 were considered to be “adults at risk.”

One woman whose delay in treatment “could potentially have life or limb threatening consequences”, struggled to re-arrange an orthopaedic oncology appointment that she missed because she had been detained.  One released Medical Justice client described how he ended up a number of times in Accident & Emergency, having been unable to secure a recommended cardiology appointment.

The report found that release from detention is often unplanned, chaotic and medically unsafe.
Medical Justice sees repeated cases of vulnerable people released into the community without adequate care plans, with little or no information and support about entitlement and how to access a GP, and rarely with referrals to community support services such as local mental health teams. This has included people who had very recently attempted suicide in detention.

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Source: BMJ, 4 March 2022


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