Intended for healthcare professionals


Meeting health needs of asylum seekers

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 06 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:671

White paper will make access to health care more difficult

  1. Helen Hogan (, General practitioner
  1. University Health Centre, Reading RG2 7HE
  2. Primary Care Act Pilot Scheme for Homeless People and Travelling Families, Thameside Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Grays, Essex RM16 2PX

    EDITOR—Jones and Gill outline the barriers currently affecting the ability of primary care to decrease the burden of ill health carried by refugees.1 Primary care alone will not be able to address the complex health needs of this group. Indeed, the authors call for the institution of a comprehensive national strategy. The government's recent white paper on immigration and asylum lays out a strategic approach to the processing of asylum claims and the settlement of refugees in this country.2 Unfortunately, no reference is made to improving their health. In fact, the white paper in many ways contradicts the government's commitment to reducing health inequalities set out in Our Healthier Nation.3

    If the white paper's suggestions are implemented refugees entering the United Kingdom are likely to be dispersed widely around the country and will have no access to cash based …

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