This section is designed to gather together a variety of resources relating to health and sanctuary seekers.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions of useful resources to add by emailing [email protected]

Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is intended for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional advice and we cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting upon it.

Healthcare Charging and Entitlements

This briefing from Asylum Matters outlines the entitlements of refugees and asylum seekers to free healthcare:

Asylum Matters – Healthcare Access Briefing, May 2017 (updated Jul 2017)

It should be read in conjunction with the below information about the NHS Charging Regulations.

There is also information about accessing healthcare services on our Information for Sanctuary Seekers page.

Advice on healthcare entitlements

Free advice is available to the public/professionals from Doctors of the World’s national helpline: 020 75157534 (10am to 12pm, Mon to Fri). Outside of these times e-mail:  [email protected]

Maternity Action also provides free telephone advice to help women get the maternity care they need and on charging (0808 800 0041, Thurs. only 10am-12noon) & email advice at: [email protected]

NHS Charging Regulations (Aug 2017)

In August 2017, the Government proposed to amend the ‘NHS Charging Regulations’, which govern how people access healthcare in England and when they have to pay for it.

Asylum Matters Healthcare Regulations Briefing (Aug 2017)

While there are already processes in place for hospitals to identify and bill ‘chargeable’ patients for their care, these regulations introduce two significant changes.

Firstly, under the regulations, charges have been introduced for services provided by all community health organisations in England, except GP surgeries. A wide range of health services will be affected, such as school nursing, community midwifery, community mental health services, termination of pregnancy services, advocacy services, and specialist services for homeless people and asylum seekers. Community-interest companies and charities will also now be expected to check whether the people using their services are eligible for free care, and charge accordingly. Public health services commissioned through Local Authorities, which include mental health and drug and alcohol services, are also likely to be affected.

Secondly, the regulations introduce up-front charging which means that every hospital department in England will be legally required to check every patient’s paperwork before treating them. If a patient cannot prove that they are entitled to free care (and if they do not qualify for free care under a treatment based exemption), they will receive an estimated bill for their treatment and will have to pay it in full before they receive any treatment other than that which is ‘urgent’ or ‘immediately necessary’, as defined by doctors on a case-by-case basis. 

The following links provide the background / chronology to the campaign:

Briefing for 16 Nov 2017 debate on the motion to regret the regulations

Doctors of the World research briefing on the impact of the regulations (Oct 2017)

Open letter sent to Jeremy Hunt Oct 2017 asking for the withdrawal of the regulations

An article from 'Our NHS' on OpenDemocracy about protest against passport checks and upfront charges (Oct 2017)

Doctors of the World briefing on the Government Response to the consultation on further NHS Charging February 2017. 

Follow Asylum Matters on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

The Immigration Act

The Immigration Act (2014)

The Immigration Bill, brought before Parliament on the 10th October 2013, included a range of legislative measures designed to restrict the access of migrants to a number of different public services.

Regional Asylum Activism Briefing on the Immigration Bill and Access to Healthcare (2013)

Regional Asylum Activism Briefing on Free Access to Healthcare for People Seeking Asylum (2015)

Free Movement blog on the Immigration Act 

Resources on Health Issues (A-Z)


Problems and solutions to undertaking regular physical activity and exercise for asylum seekers


FGM (Female Genital Mutilation)

How we care for women with FGM in Leeds Maternity Service (2014), a presentation by Sarah Bennett, Specialist Midwife

UNHCR Guidance notes on refugee claims relating to FGM (2009)


NAT (National AIDS Trust) information on Immigration and Asylum

NAT blog on '3 ways the UK asylum system fails people living with HIV'


Please see the Maternity Stream site for specialised resources relating to maternity.

Maternity Action has a Maternity Rights Advice Line for advice about rights and entitlements (0808 800 0041, Thurs. only 10am-12noon) & email advice at: [email protected]


Resources from Parenting and Families Research Group at the University of Manchester – research on parenting experiences of Syrian refugee families to raise awareness and support refugees through various stages of flight.

  • Film in collaboration with independent film-maker Hafsah Naib  highlighting parents’ will and commitment to protect, engage and raise their children through war and displacement.
  • Exhibition featuring drawings from children in Syria
  • Leaflet, available in various languages, outlining the psychological impact as a result of war. While it is mainly targeted for parents with bite-size coping strategies and parenting advice, it would be useful for anyone who would like to gain a better understanding of the psychological impact of war.

PTSD / Memory

The Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law (CSEL) has a lot of resources (many of them very academic) relating to how people behave and respond to trauma and how this intersects with the law eg. reluctance to disclose experiences and the impact this can have on credibility assessments

Sexual Health

'Sexual Health, asylum seekers and refugees' is a handbook for people working with asylum seekers and refugees in England, produced by the Family Planning Association (FPA)

TB (Tuberculosis)

The toolkit is designed to be used locally to assist programme implementation by local stakeholders as well as individual providers who may be involved in any part of the process. The intended audience includes TB control boards, health and wellbeing boards, local medical councils, primary care practitioners: GPs, practice nurses, practice managers, commissioners: CCGs, local authorities, local PHE teams, TB services, local authority departments such as public health, housing, environmental health and third sector organisations working with eligible groups.

Trafficking / Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery is the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation.   Individuals may be trafficked into, out of or within the UK, and they may be trafficked for a number of reasons including sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude and organ harvesting.

This online resource provides an overview of the issue of modern slavery.  It is aimed at helping all healthcare staff recognise the signs that someone has been trafficked, and to take appropriate action with confidence.

Links to organisations and specialist services


Freedom from Torture provides clinical consultation and care as well as medico-legal reports for victims of torture.

Refugee Council has a Therapeutic Casework service in London and regionally.


Doctors of the World runs a clinic in Bethnal Green for excluded people

Yorkshire & Humberside

Bevan Healthcare CIC is a specialist GP service for those that are homeless or seeking asylum in Bradford and Leeds

Solace is a Leeds-based charity that provides psychotherapy, complementary therapies and advocacy support to survivors of persecution and exile living in the Yorkshire and Humber region

Refugee Health Professionals

Refugee Council Building Bridges programme is an NHS funded partnership for Refugee Health Professionals living in London.

Reache North West was set up to help refugee health professionals in the North West register their qualifications in the UK and find work.

Hidden Talents is a pilot run by Growing Points which has placed refugee women in Leeds in apprenticeships as Clinical Support Workers. It was covered by the Guardian in Oct 2016.

Mental Health Resource Pack

National resource pack on refugee mental health

This resource pack is designed to help people understand the journeys that refugees and asylum seekers have been through that put pressure on their mental health. It aims to help people in frontline services such as council offices and doctor’s surgeries recognise issues and help signpost them to available support.

Mental Health ResourcePack