Asylum Seekers Should Not Be Restricted From Access to Healthcare, Says Refugee Charity

Last updated July 3, 2013Press release

In response to the Government’s plans to further restrict refused asylum seekers’ access to NHS services, Dave Garratt, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, said:

“At the very heart of the NHS Constitution is the principle that services are universally available to all and are based on clinical need, not the ability to pay. Yet today’s proposals will prevent some of the most vulnerable people in our communities from accessing even basic primary healthcare.

“There is absolutely no evidence that asylum seekers enter the UK because they wish to benefit from free healthcare. It is outrageous that the Government could consider people who are seeking protection from war, torture and persecution as health tourists.

“The vast majority of refused asylum seekers are destitute. They are homeless, have no income or no means of supporting themselves and would not have any money to pay fees to the NHS.

“We have an obligation under the UN Convention on Refugees to provide sanctuary to those in need of protection. Healthcare is a basic human right and we need to ensure it remains available to all, free at the point of need.”

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