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Debunking the myths surrounding asylum seekers and health care

June 03, 2004

A Health and Human Rights article in this week's issue of THE LANCET calls for UK health-care professionals to counter the negative attitudes to asylum seekers often perpetuated by the media and immigration services.

Ron Singer outlines the facts about UK immigration: Britain's 200,000 asylum seekers make up 0.3% of the total population; 80,000 receive Government support compared with 15 million UK residents (excluding those receiving pension support); and in light of the 2002 Wanless Report which identified a total underinvestment of £237 billion in the National Health Service over the past 25 years Dr. Singer comments: "This is a more likely reason for long waiting lists than an Afghani asylum seeker or Somali refugee being on the waiting list".

Dr. Singer concludes: "Governments and the media have a responsibility to deal in facts rather than myths. In a situation where such a value is ignored, clinicians have a double responsibility: first, to de-bunk the myths and publicise the facts and second; to make greater effort to ensure their services are available to those in need".
-end-
Contact: Dr. Ron Singer, C/o Jody Mills, Press officer, Amicus, 25 King St London WC2E 8JG, UK; T): 44-0-7768-693-956; F): 44-0-20-7420-8998; E): rsinger@globalnet.co.uk.

Lancet

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