Doctors attack asylum policy

The asylum seeker voucher scheme and dispersal policy has come
in for renewed criticism in a new report from the British Medical

The BMA says asylum seekers have been cut off from support and
advice from existing refugee community groups and doctors have
struggled to cope with the needs of vulnerable people arriving
without warning, planning or language support.

“Those who have suffered torture or lived through trauma may be
a minority of those seeking to enter the UK but the Medical
Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture receives more than
5,000 referrals per year,” said Dr Michael Wilks, chairperson of
the BMA medical ethics committee. “The problem is real and serious,
as are the health needs of the other entrants being dispersed
around the UK.”

The report also looked at the abuse of institutionalised
patients. In all countries, institutions’ treatment of residents or
patients should be effectively monitored by an independent body, it

– BMA, The Medical Profession & Human Rights:
Handbook for a Changing Agenda
. Available from 020 7383

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