Access to Healthcare for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants: - Report

Healthwatch Redbridge commissioned the Refugee and Migrant Forum Essex & London (RAMFEL) to look into issues around access to healthcare for vulnerable migrants.

Primary care is free for everyone!

Everyone in England is entitled to free primary care regardless of nationality or immigration status. Therefore, asylum seekers, refugees, people on work visas and overseas visitors, whether lawfully in the UK or not, can all register with a GP practice and see a GP without charge.

Secondary care is where it gets complicated…

Secondary care should only be refused if it is not deemed immediately necessary otherwise the treatment should go ahead and payment should be sought later on. However as has been prevalent in the news recently at the start of the windrush scandal, treatment for cancer can be denied even though the patient’s condition is likely to deteriorate without treatment. If a migrant has to pay for their treatment then NHS guidelines on chasing that debt are; Pursuing overseas debt - Relevant bodies are recommended to consider employing the services of a 13.71.debt recovery agency that specialises in the recovery of overseas debt, except in relation to persons whom it is clear to the relevant body will be unable to pay (e.g. destitute illegal migrants for whom such action may not be appropriate or cost-effective).


Health Support for vulnerable refugees and migrants

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