GPs offering easier access to treatment

GPs in Southampton have drawn up an agreement to distribute asylum
seekers across all the city’s practices, improving their access to
basic medical services.

The system, which uses in-surgery and telephone translators, was
set up because some practices were receiving more asylum seekers
than others and could not cope with their health and cultural

Last year, some GPs refused to take any more on to their practice
lists because of the shortage of translation services.

Before being assigned a practice to register with, asylum seekers
are “processed” by a specialist centre to identify their health
needs and verify their status.

Dr Bob Button, chief executive of Wessex Local Medical Committee,
said the system had cut complaints.

“In some areas, authorities took a hands-on, organised approach and
got GPs involved from the start. That did not happen here and they
came to regret it.”

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