into the mainstream

Asylum seekers can face a number of difficulties in accessing mainstream health services. The ‘Into the Mainstream’ Asylum Seeker Health Project seeks to address these difficulties by supporting refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants to access NHS health services. Under the remit of the Local Authority, we provide information, advice and practical assistance to help people access mainstream health services. We also refer people to other services offered by both Refugee Forum and other relevant organisations including advice on housing, benefits, legal assistance and anti-destitution. Our objectives are:

  • To assist asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in a accessing the NHS and other relevant services
  • To ensure that asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants are able to exercise their rights to NHS services, and are shown respect for their privacy, dignity and religious and cultural beliefs
  • To document the health needs of asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants
  • To identify and address barriers preventing access to health services
  • To use data collected to advocate with statutory and other bodies to find solutions and improve the health situation of asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants

Direct advocacy and support for clients

  • We make sure that clients referred to us register with a GP in their local area
  • We give information in different languages on how to access the NHS and other health services
  • We offer support to help clients access some specialist services (psychological services, maternity services, sexual health services, dental care, and counseling)
  • We inform clients about eligibility to secondary healthcare
  • We advocate on our client’s behalf when they are struggling to access health services
  • We use a holistic approach to health and well- being and make referrals to community and statutory organisations, local government and solicitors to promote social integration and well- being.
  • Workshops for health professionals working with asylum seekers and refugees

Further reading:

2012 Focus Group Report and Recommendations “Understanding the health experiences and needs of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Nottingham City”

Refugee Health Conference Report – 1st November 2012

NNRF Response to the Department of Health Consultation part 1