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Found 23 results
  1. News Article
    A case of MRSA has been reported at the congested asylum processing centre at Manston in Kent, the Guardian has learned, after it emerged that Suella Braverman ignored advice that people were being kept at the centre unlawfully. The antibiotic-resistant bacteria was identified in an asylum seeker who initially tested positive for diphtheria. But the asylum seeker was moved out of the site in Ramsgate to a hotel hundreds of miles away before the positive test result was received, raising concerns about the spread of the infection. The Manston site is understood to now have at least eight confirmed cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious and potentially serious bacterial infection. Migrants are meant to be held at the short-term holding facility, which opened in January, for 24 hours while they undergo checks before being moved into immigration detention centres or asylum accommodation such as a hotel. But giving evidence to a committee of MPs last week, David Neal, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, said he had spoken to a family from Afghanistan living in a marquee for 32 days, and two families from Iraq and Syria sleeping on mats with blankets for two weeks. Conditions at the site left him “speechless”, he said. On a visit to the site on 24 October, Neal was told there were four confirmed cases of diphtheria. Protective medical equipment for staff has now been brought on to the site. Although diphtheria is a notifiable disease, meaning cases must be reported to authorities, those at Manston have not appeared on weekly public health reports. A Home Office spokesperson said it was “aware of a very small number of cases of diphtheria reported at Manston”, and that proper medical guidance and protocols were being followed. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 30 October 2022
  2. News Article
    Women including refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented migrants are being charged as much as £14,000 to give birth on the NHS in England, a report by Doctors of the World (DOTW) has found. The report, which examined inequalities in maternity care among migrant pregnant women and babies, gathered the experiences of 257 pregnant women accessing DOTW’s services from 2017 to 2021. It found that over a third (38%) who accessed its services had been charged for healthcare, often inappropriately. The women were charged £296 to £14 000, and half of them were billed over £7000. The report said that inequalities in access to antenatal care experienced by migrant women were likely to lead to poorer outcomes for their pregnancy and the health of their children. The evidence highlights the need for urgent action to address the inequalities experienced by migrant pregnant women and their babies. There is a pressing need for immigration status to be considered as part of the ethnic and racial health inequalities agenda and for independent action to be taken to review the impact of NHS charging policy. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 20 June 2022
  3. Content Article
    The key findings of the report included that: A very small proportion of women had been taking folic acid before conception compared to the national average. The vast majority women in the cohort (81%) had their first antenatal care appointment beyond the recommended 10 weeks of pregnancy. More than four in ten (45%) of the women did not have any antenatal care until after 16 weeks of pregnancy, compared to just one in ten women nationally. Within this group more than four in ten women with undocumented, uncertain, refugee or asylum seeker status (45%) and six in ten women from Sub-Saharan Africa (62%) accessed care after 16 weeks. Mental health issues occurred in over a third of women, potentially exacerbated by the fact that over a third also received a bill for their maternity care of up to £14,000. The COVID-19 pandemic had a clear impact on this cohort of women. When stratifying antenatal and postnatal outcomes by a timestamp denoting contact with DOTW UK before or during the pandemic, differences were noted in most variables. More women reported feeling stressed during most of their pregnancy, and the proportion of women who felt supported reduced since the pandemic. The proportion of babies born with a low birthweight in the pandemic period was 11% compared to 6.5% in England and Wales in 2020. Women were almost twice as likely to report mood disturbance after birth in the pandemic period compared to pre-pandemic. This evidence highlights the need for urgent action to address the inequalities experienced by migrant pregnant women and their babies. There is a pressing need for immigration status to be considered as part of the ethnic and racial health inequalities agenda and for independent action to be taken to review the impact of NHS charging policy.
  4. Content Article
    This resource provides information on the following subjects: Experiences of mental illness in asylum seekers and refugees Distress and common mental illnesses in displaced people Approaches and principles Need for triage Barriers to accessing healthcare Safeguarding
  5. News Article
    The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has called for the immediate suspension of charging for NHS maternity care for migrant women because members say this government policy is harming the health of pregnant women and their babies. It is the first time the health professionals’ body has issued a position statement on this issue. The charity Maternity Action and the Royal College of Midwives have long expressed concern about the impact of NHS charging on this group of women. Charging forms a key plank of the Home Office’s hostile environment for migrants. The government says the charging policy is in place to deter health tourism but medics treating migrant pregnant women say there is little evidence that previously free NHS maternity care for all attracted health tourists. According to the 2019 MBRRACE-UK confidential inquiry into maternal deaths, three women were found to have died between 2015 and 2017 who may have been reluctant to access maternity care due to fears about charging and impact on their immigration status. Dr Brenda Kelly, an NHS consultant obstetrician working in Oxford, treats many pregnant migrant women. She is calling for the barriers to them accessing maternity care to be removed urgently. She described the case of one migrant woman who arrived in A&E shortly before delivering a stillborn baby. The woman had been fearful of coming forward for antenatal care although she was suffering from multiple, pregnancy-related health problems. “I hope I never have to hear cries like that woman’s cries ever again,” said Kelly. “The way to safeguard these women is to build up trust. If they are landed with a bill of several thousand pounds they will disengage. They are not health tourists, they are desperate. The commitment to maternal health equity means ending charges for maternity care. The time for action is now.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 27 March 2022
  6. News Article
    The UK's top public health doctor says anyone with a persistent cough and fever should not dismiss it as Covid - and should consider other infectious illnesses like tuberculosis (TB). Dr Jenny Harries' warning comes as provisional data shows there were 4,430 cases recorded in England in 2021, despite sharp declines in recent years. Charities are calling for more funding to tackle the disease around the world. They say the pandemic and conflicts have set back progress worldwide. In 2020, global deaths because of tuberculosis ranked second to Covid for any infectious disease. The charity Stop TB Partnership warns the war in Ukraine could have "devastating impacts on health services", including the country's strong national TB treatment programme. The charity is urging all countries to put facilities in place urgently so refugees can be given the care they need. In the UK a requirement for Ukrainians to take a TB test before arrival has been waived for those who are coming to the country on the family scheme visa. Refugees arriving on the scheme will get medical care and testing via GPs. Meanwhile Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said delayed diagnosis and treatment, particularly during the pandemic, will have increased the number of undetected cases in England. Read full story Source: BBC News, 24 March 2022
  7. News Article
    Hospitals across Ukraine are “desperate” for medical supplies, doctors have warned, as oxygen stores are hit and other vital health supplies run low amid bombardment from Russian forces. UK-based Ukrainian doctors have issued an urgent appeal for donations of supplies as they travel to eastern Europe in response to reports of shortages of medical equipment and medicines. The World Health Organisation warned on Sunday evening that oxygen supplies in Ukraine were “dangerously low” as trucks were unable to transport oxygen supplies from plants to hospitals across the country. Dr Volodymyr Suskyi, an intensive care doctor at Feofaniya Clinical Hospital in Kyiv, told The Independent he had been forced to use an emergency back-up system to supply oxygen to a patient on life support after the area near plant which supplies his hospital was bombed. Dr Dennis Olugun, a UK-based doctor who is leading the group of medics from the Ukrainian Medical Association of the United Kingdom (UMAUK) to deliver medical supplies, said the situation was “desperate” in some areas. He said some hospitals did not have basic necessities such as rubber gloves. He told The Independent: “What they need in the hospitals is portable ultrasound machines, portable x-ray machines because they have so many patients they much rather walk around the wards and do whatever diagnostic work rather than transporting patients." The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations have called for medicines, pharmaceutical ingredients and raw materials to be excluded from the scope of sanctions being levied against Russian trade. Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 March 2022
  8. News Article
    Violence against healthcare workers has become a “global crisis”, with 161 medics killed and 188 incidents of hospitals being destroyed or damaged last year, according to a new report. Data collected from 49 conflict zones by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC), also found that 320 health workers were wounded in attacks, 170 were kidnapped and 713 people were arrested in the course of their work. The US-based group said on Tuesday that, although the total number of attacks was similar to those recorded in recent years, there had been an increase in violence in areas of new or renewed conflict in 2021, “underlining the fact that attacks on healthcare are a common feature in many of today’s conflicts”. Christina Wille, director at Insecurity Insight, which led the data collection and analysis, said: “Violence against healthcare resulted in widespread impacts on public health programmes, vaccination campaigns and population health, contributing to avoidable deaths and long-term consequences for individuals, communities, countries and global health writ large.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 24 May 2022
  9. News Article
    Traumatised Ukrainian refugees who have sought sanctuary in the UK may have to wait two years before they can get specialised therapy to help them heal from the horrors of war, according to experts. Therapists who specialise in treating war trauma say they have seen NHS waiting lists of two years before refugees can access the specialist treatment they need. Services across the UK are patchy with some areas “treatment deserts when it comes to trauma”, according to Emily Palmer-White, a psychotherapist and community manager at the charity Room to Heal, which provides support for people who have fled persecution. “There are often extremely long waiting lists. I have been told two years. You can’t separate the psychological from the practical – it’s more difficult to help people if they’re preoccupied with survival,” said Palmer-White. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said officials recognised the trauma Ukrainians were facing and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them. However, beyond having access to NHS care officials did not cite any specific provision to provide newly arrived refugees with trauma support. Prof Cornelius Catona, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the visa delays of several weeks would likely exacerbate mental illness for those already struggling and that the refugee schemes should have included a mechanism for spotting signs of trauma early. Viktoriia Liamets, a Ukrainian child and family therapist who recently arrived in the UK after fleeing the war, said Ukrainians arriving in Britain had multiple and complex traumas to contend with. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 9 May 2022
  10. Content Article
    The key messages are: Screen all new entrants, including children, for tuberculosis (TB). (Due to low prevalence) look for hepatitis B risk factors that may indicate a need for screening. Consider screening for hepatitis C (considerably higher prevalence than the UK). There is a risk of typhoid infection. Consider nutritional and metabolic concerns. Work with a professional interpreter where language barriers are present. Consider the impacts of culture, religion and gender on health. Assess for mental health (and trauma) conditions. Support individuals and ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule, including making the offer of Covid vaccination (primary course, boosters, or completion of initial course if begun overseas) Refer pregnant women to antenatal care. Newly arrived individuals will need help on how to access the NHS, and this will include GP registration as the principle route for accessing services. Individuals may struggle to provide proof of ID, address or confirmation of immigration status and their registration requests should be managed sensitively. None of these documents are required for registration and the inability of any individual to provide them is no reason to refuse registration.
  11. Content Article
    The Quality of care in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable settings: tools and resources compendium represents a curated, pragmatic and non-prescriptive collection of tools and resources to support the implementation of interventions to improve quality of care in such contexts. Relevant tools and resources are listed under five areas: ensuring access and basic infrastructure for quality shaping the system environment reducing harm improving clinical care engaging and empowering patients, families and communities. Cross-cutting products are also signposted. The compendium is a companion to the World Health Organization resource Quality of care in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable settings: taking action.
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