Intended for healthcare professionals


Clinicians caring for migrants need more support

BMJ 2022; 377 doi: (Published 23 May 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:e071007
  1. Piyal Sen, honorary senior lecturer1,
  2. Lauren Z Waterman, specialty trainee year 6 psychiatry,2,
  3. Grace Crowley, academic clinical fellow2,
  4. Mishka Pillay, spokesperson3,
  5. Cornelius Katona, medical and research director4
  1. 1Brunel University College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK
  2. 2South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Maudsley Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3One Strong Voice Network, London, UK
  4. 4Helen Bamber Foundation, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to P Sen Piyal.Sen{at}

A harsh immigration environment brings unique challenges

Recent political events, including the conflict in Ukraine, the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, and the passing of the Nationality and Borders Bill,1 are set to worsen the effect of the UK’s immigration system on asylum seekers and other migrants with irregular immigration status. The bill includes provision for sending asylum seekers to Rwanda to have their claims processed rather than in the UK asylum system. These developments widen the gulf between asylum seekers’ needs and what clinicians are allowed to do for them.

The UK remains the only European country with no upper time limit on immigration detention. Professional groups have raised serious concerns about healthcare within immigration detention centres and the mental health consequences of such detention.234 Recently, asylum seekers have been housed in institutional and restrictive “quasi-detention” settings such as former army barracks. An all-party parliamentary group inquiry into quasi-detention in December 2021 reported considerable risks to the mental health and wellbeing of migrants housed in these …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription