Health Services: Refugees

Department of Health written question – answered on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the mental and other health services that will be needed to assist the unaccompanied children who will be brought to the UK from refugee camps (1) in Europe, and (2) outside Europe.

Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the arrival of unaccompanied children from refugee camps (1) in Europe, and (2) outside Europe, on waiting lists for mental and other health services.

Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many additional staff are being recruited to attend to and treat unaccompanied children coming to the UK from refugee camps (1) in Europe, and (2) outside Europe.

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

The United Kingdom has been operating resettlement schemes for many years and we already have established and effective networks to accommodate and support resettled people. The increase in numbers will require an expansion of current networks and the impact on local communities and infrastructure will need to be managed carefully. That is why we are working with a wide range of partners to ensure that people are integrated sensitively into local communities and that we have the right support in place for unaccompanied refugee children who arrive in the UK from Europe whilst ensuring we fulfil our obligations to children who are already in the UK.

The guidance, Statutory Guidance on Promoting the Health and Well-being of Looked After Children, sets out the health duties for local authorities, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and NHS England. The guidance sets out that local authorities and the National Health Service should take account any particular needs of the child, including if they are unaccompanied asylum seekers. This guidance is attached.

Whilst there are a range of health care professionals, for example youth workers and teachers, who deliver interventions and support for children and young people with mental health conditions, clinical need should be determined by a specialist initial assessment in line with guidance produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Local areas have published Local Transformation Plans that set out how mental health services will be delivered for their population. As part of their plans, local areas were asked to set out how they planned to meet the needs of more vulnerable groups, including unaccompanied refugee and asylum seeking children (UASC).

NHS England ensures that all commissioners of health services have appropriate arrangements and resources in place to meet the physical, emotional and mental health needs of looked-after children, including UASC. They will work with local commissioners to raise awareness of the Resettlement Programme and highlight the additional numbers of children who will require their attention and support.

Decisions about the resources needed to meet the mental health and other health needs of all children and young people, including UASC, are taken at a local level by CCGs. This may include decisions to recruit additional staff where necessary.

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