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Homeless Grenfell survivors afraid of deportation

 
July 11th 2017
 

Paying tribute to Grenfell Victims © ChiralJon, Creative Commons
Volunteers helping with the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire have reported that many of the survivors are afraid to seek housing, medical and legal help because they fear deportation.

Volunteer doctors and lawyers claim that many of the survivors of 14 June’s Grenfell Tower fire - which claimed at least 79 lives - are now avoiding coming forward to get NHS-provided aid.
 
It is not known whether some undocumented migrants, not added to the official death toll, may still be missing or whether they have failed to come forward due to fears that their details will be passed to the Home Office by support services.
 
In January 2017, the UK government and NHS Digital (where our patient information is stored) signed an agreement stating that the Home Office now has easier access to our “confidential” patient information to help them track down, arrest and deport migrants without full UK immigration status.
 
One of the volunteer doctors, Dr. Paquita de Zulueta, told the Guardian newspaper of a North African lady who fell down the tower’s stairwell whilst escaping the fire, hitting her head and losing consciousness for a few minutes. When Dr. de Zulueta discovered the woman had numerous signs of a potential brain injury, she told her to go to A&E.
“She was very reluctant,” she told the Guardian. “When I asked if she was frightened to go, she nodded. I told her there would be no repercussions and that she would be safe.”
 
Last month Theresa May said in a statement that Grenfell survivors would not be at risk of immigration checks while receiving vital medical treatment.
 
“We will not use this tragic incident as a reason to carry out immigration checks on those involved,” the prime minister said. “We will make sure that all victims, irrespective of their immigration status, will be able to access the services they need, including healthcare and accommodation.”
 
However the fear persists in migrant communities. People who do not have full UK immigration status are not allowed to work in the UK or access many services including the benefits system and free NHS health care.
 
Back in April, the Pavement reported that some leading homelessness charities in London were working with the Home Office to have rough sleepers deported for not having the correct immigration status. Migrant rights group claim this has led to a breakdown in trust towards many support services on offer to the Grenfell fire’s survivors.
 
Campaigners, including Anna Miller of Doctors of the World, have been attempting to overturn the deal made earlier this year between the Home Office and NHS Digital.
 
Anna’s petition was live before the Grenfell tower fire, but has gained a lot of momentum since the tragedy. As she writes on the 38 Degrees page: “Vulnerable, sick and injured people are not going to NHS hospitals and GP surgeries because they fear it could lead to their arrest – including most recently survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.
 
“Patient confidentiality is essential for NHS staff to be able to do their job – and yet there has been no consultation with NHS staff or the public about this deal. Concerns raised by medical organisations have been ignored and the agreement was made in secret.
 
“The deal makes some of the UK’s most vulnerable people scared of getting healthcare.”
 
In response Doctors of the World, which operates in disaster zones across the globe, has been forced to set up a clinic nearby to help homeless and injured Grenfell survivors.
 
Sign the petition here: http://tinyurl.com/m3xnaar
 
 
 

 

Contents

New arrivals hit the streets

Soup Run Forum

Web only: Emergency Islington shelter remains open during sub-zero temperatures

Chairman of the board

Rest in peace - in memory of lost friends

Prince poses

Starter pack boost

Wearing a jacket to beg?

Teens found guilty of killing Ralph Millward

The Passage withdraws service "as a last resort"

New learning centre for Glasgow

iHobo game causes controversy

Auckland extends ban on rough sleepers

Homeless interrogation

Affordable housing development opens in Edinburgh

Who decides?

Credit unions

New counts are optional

Nobby on stage

I will never forget you, my people

London homeless services in limbo over ?Ǭ£3.28m cuts

Disused night shelter re-opened for winter months

Coventry Cyrenians forced to cut services

London hub success for new rough sleepers

Crisis Skylight in Birmingham - a year on

Residents look ahead to staff upheaval

Midland Heart report

Labour call for hefty council tax levy on empty homes

Stik pic for the American Church

Lottery grant means new opportunities

Mungo?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s launches women?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s campaign

Homeless people forced into slavery

Homeless couple marry in Australia

Number of homeless in Southend underestimated

Basic banking for all

NSNO expands into west London

Scottish homeless applications drop by 19 per cent

Miami cannibal

Invisible People film UK homeless

The demilitarised zone in North America’s drug war

2012 - the year of the right to permanent accommodation in Scotland?

Crisis at Christmas

The Pavement is recruiting

Rough sleeper donates $250 to charity

Food voucher scheme scrapped

Commemorating friends and companions

Human rights for all

First person: Gemskii on regaining control of her life

The shades come off

Upfront: spikes

Comment: Spikes are the least of your worries

Opinion: All up in smoke?

Heartbreak Hotel, episode 4.

The Pied Piper of Housing

March for the Homeless

Being homeless doesn't mean you can't vote on May 7

The vulnerability ruling

The Queen’s speech

Criminalising homelessness

116-bed hostel for young homeless to close in Southwark

Sponsor a bed and rebuild a life

Hipsters neutralise anti-homeless spikes

What the Brexit will happen now?

Anti-homelessness protesters threatened with eviction, jail by Manchester city council

Showing our impact

Rebirth

The birth of the North Gower Action Group

A pianist, an artist, a dog called George and a new homeless app

Living water

Midwinter blues?

Councils back change in law to tackle rising homelessness

Having problems with your JSA?

Mayoral hustings on homelessness

Skippering

A major step in reducing homelessness?

Liverpool Police homeless curb beggars belief

Charity begins at home?

Legal aid charade

Surviving the streets – by those who've done it

Stop the scandal

Glasgow homeless services at risk

Bill gives councils legal duty to stop homelessness

Homeless Grenfell survivors afraid of deportation

 

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