Immigrants: Infectious Diseases

Department of Health written question – answered on 9th July 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Suttie Baroness Suttie Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether records are kept on the proportion of new arrivals at immigration centres who have communicable diseases.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

Healthcare in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) in England is commissioned by NHS England.

Each of the IRCs has a primary healthcare service provided on site. The range of healthcare provision typically available includes initial health screening and risk assessment, including routine treatment of evident infection and active case finding for diseases commonly found among detainees including pulmonary tuberculosis, blood-borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections (if indicated by the initial assessment).

IRCs currently operate under the Detention Centre Rules and Operating Standards for the purposes of health screening and access to a general practitioner (GP) targets for initial healthcare screening and assessment which means all detainees to be seen by a nurse for an initial health assessment within 2 hours of admission and to be seen by a GP within 24 hours of admission (which may vary on assessment by competent nurse). Any health problems identified, tests or treatments prescribed and their outcomes are recorded on computerised health informatics systems in IRCs (e.g. SystmOne) and information can be shared between prisons and IRCs.

IRCs, like prisons, are required to notify Public Heath England Centres’ Health Protection Teams of cases or outbreaks of reportable diseases. This information is collated at national level by the Health & Justice Team.

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