Into The Mainstream (ITM) aims to provide the necessary support and advocacy to ensure access to health services for all of NNRF’s clients. The project’s main activity is to register newly-arrived asylum seekers with local GPs, as well as ensure clients are linked to dentists, opticians, mental health services, maternity care and any other health services needed.
In addition to ensuring that clients are able to exercise their rights to NHS services, we document the health needs of asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants, identify and address barriers to health services and use data collected to improve the health of the community.
Our report “Exploring the Health Experiences of Asylum Seekers and Refugees” was cited as the first resource in a CCG review of interpreting services and received an official response from Nottingham University Hospitals.
clients served last year
other outcomes were obtained for clients, including dental registration, obtaining HC2 certificates, making health appointments, making referrals to psychological services, signposting to health promotion services, making optician appointments and negotiating health charges and eligibility for secondary care.
individuals were registered with a GP
We wanted to acknowledge the work Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum does through the ‘Into the Mainstream’ project to support Asylum Seekers and refugees to access healthcare services.Amanda Sullivan, Accountable Officer, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
“Lidiya” is a young, asylum seeking woman from Eritrea. She was referred to the project in April 2020, at the start of the first national lockdown, when she was 6 months pregnant. We completed forms for her to register herself with a local GP practice and referred her to the Specialist Midwifery team. When she arrived at the GP practice, the door was locked. She was told, “We’re not registering asylum seekers at the moment” and asked to go to another GP further away from where she lived. The second practice also refused to register her saying that only online registrations would be accepted.
An ITM worker called the first practice and reminded them of their duties to register all patients. After discussion with a manager and sending forms and documentation by email, the client was registered at the practice. Following this incident and other similar ones, the project coordinator liaised with partners in public health and the NHS to ensure that the practice’s registration policy was compliant with NHS policy.
“Thank you so much for helping us. God bless you.”
– Female Iranian Asylum Seeker
“The session was definitely worth attending and made us more aware of difficulties faced. It will make us look at how our own appointment system works and if there are any improvements that can be made.”
– Feedback from GP Practice Manager who attended ITM training.
“We shed light on many points, especially those related to people who need help, and we also discussed the great role played by the health team at NNRF, as well as GPs.”
– Volunteer, Hakim Achour, reflecting on training he helped deliver to trainee GPs.