Kate Osamor MP is leading a debate on healthcare in Yarl’s Wood at 4.30pm today, 6 January 2016 in Westminster Hall.
This is following her visit to Yarl’s Wood in November 2015, where she met two women who were detained. Both were victims of trafficking; one was pregnant. They told her that the worst thing about Yarl’s Wood was healthcare.
Healthcare in Yarl’s Wood has been severely criticised by HMIP following their most recent inspection in April-May 2015, as well as by independent organisations including Women for Refugee Women, Medical Justice and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
In October 2015, Yarl’s Wood further restricted access to independent doctors visiting Yarl’s Wood. Medical Justice wrote to the Home Office about this issue and have received no response.
Kate Osamor MP’s demands in the debate are as follows:
1. For the government to lift restrictions on access to Yarl’s Wood for independent doctors.
2. That the government ensure legal rooms are refurbished to make up the extra space that Yarl’s Wood management say is necessary to accommodate independent medical visits.
3. To ensure Rule 35 is properly used to protect the most vulnerable people from detention.
4. To end the detention of pregnant women and those detained under the Mental Health Act.
Speaking on the subject, Kate says:
“I wanted to lead this debate after visiting Yarl’s Wood and meeting women there, who told me that the worst thing about Yarl’s Wood was healthcare. This debate is for all those who have been previously or are currently detained.
We are the only country in the EU who do not have a time limit on detention. This is appalling. Studies show detention has a lasting, damaging effect on the mental health of detainees and the government need to be doing more to address this.
I hope the government will take seriously the need to review healthcare in Yarl’s Wood and will address my demands as a matter of urgency.”