Helping detainees in need of medical assistance

Panorama programme undercover in Brook House Immigration Removal Centre broadcast 04/09/17

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017
Regarding : Panorama programme undercover in Brook House Immigration Removal Centre broadcast 04/09/17
 

Medical Justice Press release 5th September 2017 
 
Volunteer doctors for Medical Justice have visited thousands of detainees in all 9 IRCs in the UK over the years to document their scars of torture, other serious medical conditions, and instances of medical mistreatment.  They have also documented injuries sustained by detainees through use of force by guards in similar scenarios to those described by the Panorama programme.
 
“All of the issues raised by the Panorama programme have been raised by Medical Justice and other detainee rights organisations for many years.  It is truly tragic that such abuses are allowed to continue despite these warning. The level of medical mistreatment in immigration removal centres and the risk of harm to detainees is so great that Medical Justice calls for all immigration removal centres to be closed.  This should happen immediately, before another detainee dies.  All deaths in immigration detention are avoidable because immigration detention is optional.” – A Medical Justice spokesperson
 
Available for interview
* A detainee in Brook House with medical issues
* Medical Justice volunteer doctors who has been into Brook House
* Medical Justice spokesperson
 
Contact : Emma Ginn on 07786 517379 / emma.ginn@medicaljustice.org.uk
 
Notes
 
Many of our clients are victims of torture, rape and trafficking. Many have complex healthcare needs and mental illness stemming from past persecution that they fled for safety to the UK from.  
 
Our volunteer doctors have exposed widespread inadequacies of healthcare in immigration detention and an alarming level of medical mistreatment, including access to hospital being curtailed by failure to provide transport. Many of our clients’ precarious health has deteriorated as a result of conditions in detention.  This is often coupled with the harmful impact of detention itself as well as the psychological effect of indefinite detention. 
 
Some of our clients have been inappropriately held in segregation because they are on self-harm and suicide watch.  Our volunteer doctors also assess detainees on hungerstrike. 
 
 
 
Medical Justice has raised all these issues, both about individual detainees and at a systemic failure level, to the Home Office who have stonewalled us, claiming that any issues were isolated incidents and have since been rectified.  We have also raised these issues with NHS England who have given G4S contracts to provide healthcare at Brook House and other immigration removal centres, including the notorious Yarl’s Wood where vulnerable women are held.
 
Medical Justice is just one voice in a chorus of criticisms, including issues raised by HM Inspector of Prisons, detainee rights organisations, parliamentary inquiries, the media, the many unlawful detention judgements, including high court judgements finding that detention amounted to “inhuman and degrading treatment”, and inquests that have found that neglect contributed to detainees’ deaths. 
 
Most markedly, detainees themselves have been raising complaints that have been dismissed by the Home Office and its private contractors running immigration removal centres. 
 
Medical Justice is particularly concerned that G4S has recently been awarded the contract to provide welfare for children with families detained at Tinsley House, neighbouring Brook House, which they also run.
 
Medical Justice have been highlighting failures and documenting abuses in immigration detention for years – Outsourcing Abuse (2008) – still these practices are allowed to go on.