Wolverhampton NHS staff 'working around the clock' to cope with asylum seeker and refugee influx

NHS bosses in Wolverhampton have revealed staff are "working around the clock to support refugees and asylum seekers" who have been resettled in the city.

200 asylum seekers and refugees are in the Britannia Hotel, Wolverhampton
200 asylum seekers and refugees are in the Britannia Hotel, Wolverhampton

Practice staff at Thornley Street Medical Centre had to register and care for 200 asylum seekers from across Europe and at West Park Surgery staff 50 refugees from Afghanistan had to be processed.

Both practices have been working with health care visitors, midwives and social services to ensure all patients were registered and triaged within a few weeks.

The revelation comes weeks after Wolverhampton Council leader Ian Brookfield complained the "system was broken" after the Britannia Hotel was commandeered for 200 asylum seekers.

Some of the asylum seekers and refugees needed urgent medication, and others needed urgent referrals initiated, and these were undertaken with the The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust being forced to implement new processes.

Dr Anna Stone, GP at Thornley Street Medical Centre, said staff had worked hard to ensure each refugee was given excellent primary healthcare.

She said: “Thanks to the hard work of everyone across the system we have managed to support and identify the health care needs of this vulnerable group.

“Many of them had complex health care needs such as chronic health conditions, diabetes, and mental health concerns. And some women also needed urgent maternity care

“This work in collaboration meant we could deal with a significant volume of patients in a short time."

200 asylum seekers and refugees are in the Britannia Hotel, Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton Council leader Ian Brookfield

She added: “This was not an easy job, as between the residents they spoke 10 different languages so we had to use translation clinics and telephone services.

“Our staff were amazing and work tirelessly to complete the registrations. They pulled out all the stops and adopted new processes and systems to get this done. A huge thank you to everyone who took part.”

Wolverhampton has been a City of Sanctuary since 2012 and aims to be a place of welcome and safety for asylum seekers and refugees.

However, last month Wolverhampton Council leader Ian Brookfield laid bare the crisis in the West Midlands concerning the resources needed to cater for the influx of refugees and asylum seekers.

He said: “It is happening on a huge scale and it proves that the scheme is broken. We are bearing the brunt – we don’t know where these people are from or what help they need.”

Mr Brookfield complained the West Midlands Combined Authority area was getting “more than our fair share of asylum seekers”.

He added: “There are plenty of other local authorities who are not even getting one asylum seeker,” he said. “We don’t know where these people are from, what help they need.

“Some of them have arrived here in a terrible state, there’s people with no clothes, no nappies for the kids. We know Serco are running this but they could at least put a little bit of humanity into it. As a council we are left out of the whole process.

"The Home Office needs to work with local authorities so we can help these people.”

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