Failed asylum seekers and primary care
Act within the law, and let patients be your primary concern. Lucy Carter examines the ethical dilemmas surrounding failed asylum seekers, and finds out whether their healthcare needs are met
The United Kingdom, as a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol,1 has acknowledged the plight of people suffering persecution in their country of residence and pledged to provide asylum to those deemed in need of protection.
During the asylum determination process, applicants are granted full access to the United Kingdom's health service, primary and secondary services. Indeed, in recognition of the particular healthcare needs of asylum seekers in the UK, a number of NHS primary care trusts have established dedicated primary medical services tailored to this group.2 What though, of those whose claims for asylum are declined by the Home Office? How closely must the Home Office and the NHS align their approach to this group?
An applicant for asylum whose claim is rejected by the Home Office and who has exhausted all avenues of appeal against the decision is