Helping detainees in need of medical assistance

Doctors and Health Professionals

We need health professionals, especially doctors, midwives and psychologists to visit detainees in detention and write reports or contribute remotely, by email, reviewing medical records and providing opinions.

By joining Medical Justice, health professionals can have a positive impact on the lives and health of this most vulnerable group of people in the UK.


Visiting Detainees

Medical Justice urgently needs health professionals to visit detainees in detention centres, including documenting scars of torture, and serious medical conditions, giving advice about the management of pre-existing or new medical conditions, and assessing injuries following an alleged assault during the removal process.

The immigration removal centres that volunteers visit are at: Gatwick, Heathrow, Milton Ernest (near Bedford), Kidlington (near Oxford), Swinderby (in Lincolnshire), Weymouth and Strathaven (near Glasgow).

Clinicians visit detainees and write a medico-legal report (MLR) in line with the Istanbul protocol which is a set of internationally recognised guidelines for the documentation of torture evidence.  This can be time-consuming but it may make all the difference to the detainee's  health; sometimes it is life-saving.

There may be 'legal aid' funding for a report, but often there is no funding and the independent doctor sent in by Medical Justice works on a voluntary basis (travel and other expenses will be refunded).

doctor-visiting-detainee

Visiting a detainee

 

Phone/ Email Advice

Medical Justice has a network of specialists, including psychiatrists, HIV physicians, obstetricians, paediatricians, midwives and psychologists, who can provide expert advice to other volunteer clinicians.

Those who are not able to visit detainees can give medical advice by phone or email. This could include issues surrounding denial of medication or treatment, getting test results, advice on anti-malarials or children's inoculations. Often these are straightforward issues of proper health care provision.

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Volunteer Training

Volunteering with Medical Justice can be difficult and demanding. You are visiting vulnerable detainees often in a hostile environment. Your assessment and reports are very important to the detainee's future.

You will not be working alone.

All volunteers first attend a basic training day in the forensic documentation of the physical, psychological and social consequences our patients may have suffered, including torture, trafficking, rape, and assault. Trainers include doctors, lawyers, ex-detainees and Medical Justice staff.

Basic training days - if you are new to this field. Contact us for dates and how to join.

Advanced training days and Peer Group sessions -  if you have done one or more shadow visits plus one or more assessments of detainees to provide more in depth training.  Contact us for dates and how to join.

volunteer-training-day

Volunteer training

 

Support

Volunteering with Medical Justice can be difficult and demanding. You are visiting vulnerable detainees often in a hostile environment. Your assessment and reports are very important to the detainee's future.

You will not be working alone.

All volunteers first attend a basic training day in the forensic documentation of the physical, psychological and social consequences our patients may have suffered, including torture, trafficking, rape, and assault. Trainers include doctors, lawyers, ex-detainees and Medical Justice staff.

Basic training days - if you are new to this field. Email us for dates and how to join.

Advanced training days and Peer Group sessions -  if you have done one or more shadow visits plus one or more assessments of detainees to provide more in depth training.  Email us for dates and how to join.

Clinical and Other Advice

  • Access to the Clinical Lead and more experienced doctors (including a wide range of consultants and specialists) by phone and/or email;
  •  Access to the Casework Manager who is very knowledgeable and can direct you to other sources of support, both medical and legal;
  •  Individual supervision is provided by the Medical Justice Clinical Lead, for difficult cases.

Peer Support

Medical Justice organises regular Peer Support Groups for volunteers. These meetings take place on weekday evenings in London. Each meeting focuses on a different topic, for example: different types of injuries, working with interpreters, or legal updates.

Sessions are organised by Medical Justice's Medical Advisor and volunteers will receive details of dates and topics for upcoming sessions via email.

Appraisal

Medical Justice will provide information and support for appraisal.

A training day

Dr Naomi Hartree at a Medical Justice training day

Resources

The handbook provides advice to visiting doctors on their role, consultations and report writing.

 

"It was very moving to see doctors touched after a talk that inspired them to volunteer as medical doctors with Medical Justice. This, for me, meant more torture survivors in detention had a chance of seeing an independent doctor."

(MJ doctor)