Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Enid Ruhango

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:19 pm on 16th July 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alan Campbell Alan Campbell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Crime Reduction) 6:19 pm, 16th July 2009

The hon. Gentleman anticipates my comments to some extent. I am aware of the time scale involved, but I think that it is important to put the issue in context and to address some of his criticisms of the system by saying that lessons have been learned from the inspector's report and that changes have been made. The hon. Gentleman and my right hon. Friend John Battle have put on the record the need to proceed with the matter expeditiously, quickly and properly, and to see it in the round; and, as I keep repeating, there are legal proceedings to address those requirements.

The hon. Gentleman's concerns do not just relate to the use of immigration detention and the facilities at Yarl's Wood, but to the treatment of those people arriving at Yarl's Wood who claim to have been the victim of torture. At Yarl's Wood, there is an on-site dedicated health care centre with a small in-patient facility. I know that Medical Justice raised concerns about Yarl's Wood in 2005, but, as the hon. Gentleman said, UKBA commissioned the chief inspector of prisons to undertake a review of its provision of health care services. The chief inspector made 48 recommendations, of which 38 were accepted, eight were accepted in principle or in part and two were rejected. The health care team that residents can now access is made up of GPs, general nurses, mental health nurses, health visitors, midwives, dentists, counsellors and allied health care professionals and consultants. There are 14 full-time and two part-time nurses at the centre, and a bank of seven can be called upon, if required, in an emergency.

UKBA's policy is clear and consistent with the detention centre rules of 2001, which require that, unless the detainee refuses, they should be given a physical and mental examination by a medical practitioner within 24 hours of their admission to the detention centre. When there are concerns or allegations that the detainees have previously been the victims of torture, health care staff are required to report such cases to the centre manager, and those reports are passed to the office responsible for managing and/or reviewing the individual's detention. In the light of the information in the report, case workers must then review the individual's continued detention and respond to the centre within two working days of receipt of the report. It is important to note that anyone detained under immigration powers can apply for bail at any time. The courts then consider whether detention is appropriate.

The issues that have been raised this evening are serious and complex. I assure the hon. Gentleman that UKBA is dealing with the case in line with its procedures, and that his constituent will be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom to conclude her ongoing litigation.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website