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Views And Reviews

Safe surgeries: how Doctors of the World are helping migrants access healthcare

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 10 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l88
  1. Elizabeth Bates, Doctors of the World GP champion, associate GP12
  1. 1Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Cape Hill Medical Centre, Smethwick, UK
  1. EBates{at}

The GP and volunteer for Doctors of the World discusses how the Safe Surgeries initiative supports general practices to provide care to patients who are unable to provide documents

“No,” the GP receptionist told us. It was “not possible” for the young woman and her baby to be registered. She had just gained asylum, and was unable to produce any documents that they would accept as proof of address. Could this be right? I reviewed my rudimentary knowledge of NHS registration regulations, drawing a blank. I looked at the healthy baby and, together with his mother, considered the mountain of urgent tasks needed to get their lives back on track. After several bruising interactions with authority, she’d had enough; registering with a GP was a battle for another day.

It turns out that I was not alone in my dearth of understanding of NHS policy on access to primary care. In 2017, Doctors of the World …

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