The Medact Refugee Solidarity Group develops projects to defend access to healthcare rights for refugees and migrants, and informs civil society about existing rights and barriers to accessing healthcare. They are a friendly and welcoming group of healthcare professionals and students who invite people to join and commit as little or as much time as they feel able. As a group they attend events which raise awareness of forced migration, from theatre, poetry evenings, debates and lectures.
Anyone is welcome to join – get in touch using the form below!
Their current projects include:
The group aim to increase knowledge and confidence amongst healthcare students and professionals about the complex healthcare needs of forced migrants. They are currently forming a collective of healthcare students and professionals who can deliver access to healthcare training in universities and workplaces across the UK. No previous experience is required but you will need to attend a training session on access to healthcare (if interested please email them for dates). As of August 2016, they have begun to roll out this training in universities around the UK. If you are interested in finding out more about this training or arranging for them to run the training workshop in your hospital or medical college, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday 23rd October saw the introduction of mandatory checks on residency and immigration status of patients in NHS hospitals, followed by demand of upfront payment for care from those who can not prove their eligibility. The RSG is incredibly concerned about the implications of these checks on a number of levels. Doctors have a duty of care to all people seeking healthcare and must not be expected to police the system or prevent people from getting medical help when they are at their most vulnerable. The RSG aim to raise awareness of these changes amongst the health community and mobilise students and professionals alike to challenge the increasing trend to restrict access to healthcare for vulnerable populations. They do this through letter writing, direct action, social media and petitioning.
The group are monitoring proposed extension to healthcare charges and supporting Medact in putting together a toolkit for health professionals on how to safeguard the healthcare access rights of patients.
In the Autumn of 2017, we co-ordinated a trip to Northern France and Belgium to provide first aid and support to the hundreds of refugees made homeless after the destruction of the Calais and Dunkirk camps.
The group attend demonstrations that support the rights of forced migrants such as the Yarls Wood detention centre demonstrations, as well as actions which raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals.