Doctors of the World Safe Surgeries Toolkit

The government is using NHS patients’ personal information for immigration enforcement

The Home Office, the government department in charge of immigration, has permission to access NHS Digital records of a patient’s last known address, date of birth, GP’s details and the date registered with a GP. They can use this information to trace patients, which can result in patients’ homes being raided, sometimes leading to them being detained and deported.

Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World say their toolkit:

“Is a toolkit for healthcare professionals and GP practices who want to provide confidential and welcoming services for all their patients including refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants. This advice complies with NHS England guidance on GP registration and NHS guidance on secondary care. Taking the suggested steps in this guide will also help GP practices demonstrate to the CQC that their service is responsive to patient’s needs.”

And they add:

“Deterring refugees, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, and other vulnerable people from getting healthcare has serious health consequences. At Doctors of the World’s clinics, we regularly see pregnant women avoiding antenatal care, as well as cancer sufferers and parents with unwell children who are afraid to see a doctor. Ten per cent of our patients already do not access NHS services because they fear arrest. We fear this will now get worse.

“Patients who don’t have a GP are more likely to end up going straight to A&E and to leave conditions until they are more advanced and more expensive to treat.

“And, of course, when more people are treated for illnesses, society becomes healthier for everyone.