“A young woman was held in the holding room who had miscarried a few days previously. She had been collected from a hospital following psychiatric referral, had not eaten for three days and had to be helped to and from the van. She was subject to a live F2052SH self-harm monitoring form because she kept asking for her baby and said she wanted to die. Having been delivered to the holding room in the morning, she was not due to be collected by another vehicle until more than six hours later. Apart from staff who had received first aid training, there was no on-site healthcare”
HM Inspector of Prisons, ‘Short Term Holding Centres’
"Inquiry into the quality of healthcare at Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre" by HM Inspector of Prisons.
Following a catalogue of suicides and alleged mistreatment, Medical Justice lobbied for an inquiry into healthcare at Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre and specifically into how a Ugandan woman was reduced to a state of mental collapse during a period of seven months in detention.
Conclusions of the inquiry ;
- The healthcare service was not geared to meet the needs of those with serious health problems or the significant number of detainees held for longer periods for whom prolonged and uncertain detention was itself likely to be detrimental to their well being. The number of detainees has more than doubled in the last year, as had the number detained for more than 3 months, and that one woman had been detained for 18 months.
- The management arrangements for healthcare are complex ... it was not easy to establish where responsibility for specific service delivery lay.
- There are weak clinical governance systems, inadequate staff training, insufficiently detailed policies and protocols, that mental health care provision is insufficient, and that these inadequacies are compounded by the unresponsiveness of the IND to clinical concerns about an alleged history of torture or adverse medical consequences of continued detention.
- There is a growing concern among medical and other commentators that the increased use of immigration detention raises serious concerns about the mental health of detainees, particularly in cases of prolonged detention of uncertain duration.
- Independent medical opinion was not sought or adhered to and in some cases IND caseworkers, with no declared medical qualification, appeared to be making their own clinical judgements.
- There was evidence that IND caseworkers served removal directions on detainees late to pre-empt legal challenge.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 January 2008 18:35