Medical Information – Brook House

The Home Office have recently started contacting asylum seekers and asking them to sign a consent form that would give the Home Office access to their personal medical records. The form and accompanying letter asks for the individual asylum seeker to sign and give consent for their doctor to disclose details of the individual’s (and their dependants’) medical history to the Home Office. Any information obtained may then be used to inform decisions taken on an individual’s case, including how to progress removal from the UK if an application for asylum is unsuccessful. The accompanying letter to the form does not make clear that giving consent is optional and we are concerned that asylum-seekers will feel obliged to share this information. Asylum Matters and DOTW have produced a document advising what asylum-seekers should do if they receive the letter

BBC Panorama: Undercover – Britain’s Immigration Secrets

In this episode, BBC Panorama go undercover to investigate Brook House, one of the UK’s 13 Immigration Removal Centres. The footage is recorded by a detainee custody officer and reveals self-harm and attempted suicides, as well as widespread mistreatment and violence against detainees. Diane Abbott called for a reform of immigration detention in a piece in the Huffington Post. Stuart McDonald has also tabled an EDM calling for the introduction of a 28 day time limit to detention and wider use of community-based alternatives to detention. You can share this with your supporters and encourage them to be in touch with their MPs, using the helpful campaign tools from Detention Action here.

‘Start a Conversation’ Pack for Jo Cox Loneliness Commission: Spotlight on Refugees & Asylum-Seekers

The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission’s spotlight month on refugees and asylum seekers is taking place in October, and will aim to raise awareness of loneliness among refugees and asylum seekers; and influence policymakers to take action on integration measures that would address loneliness. Refugee Action have produced a ‘Start a Conversation Event Pack’ that includes information about the month, event ideas and information on how to claim free ice cream and film vouchers – you can find this attached. If you’re interested in taking part or want to know more, please contact Mariam Kemple Hardy on