People who are denied entry to the UK and then detained at airports are routinely denied access to their prescribed medication, because there is no medical professional available to authorise this.
In its 2021-22 annual report, the Independent Monitoring Board for Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Lunar House notes that:
- in general, people who are detained are cared for safely by officers of Care and Custody (C&C), the organisation contracted to operate the short-term holding facilities
- despite the physical limitations of these facilities, C&C has made reasonable efforts to provide adequate clothing, bedding, food and drink and access to information
- those being removed or transferred have generally been treated by C&C officers with care, kindness, and consideration.
However, the Independent Monitoring Board believes that denying access to prescribed medication, without an adequate system of referral to a qualified medical practitioner, is unsatisfactory and potentially dangerous.
IMB Co-Vice Chair, Chris Duke, said:
“We believe that the current arrangements are unsafe. Dedicated medical practitioners should be available on a 24/7 basis to ensure that those in detention are able to take their own medication, and to prescribe medication and provide physical and mental healthcare if there is an urgent need.”