Yarl’s Wood controversy: 3 doctors in dock

Pressure on to transfer healthcare to NHS


23 March2010: Three doctors at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre are in the dock. They are facing inquiry by the General Medical Council.
The inquiry follows complaints alleging substandard patient care; and a series of negative reports bringing to the fore inadequate healthcare at the centre.

The development is significant as calls transferring healthcare at the centre from the private sector to the NHS are being heard loud and clear. As of now, healthcare is the responsibility of Serco, a private company running the centre.

Already, two MPs have called for stripping Serco of the responsibility for healthcare at Yarl’s Wood. John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington has asserted here was an essential conflict of interest when a private company operating for profit looks after healthcare.

The best way of ensuring openness, transparency and avoiding conflict of interest, and ensuring that people get fair standard of healthcare was to have it run by the NHS.

Expressing similar views, Tory MP for North East Bedfordshire, Alistair Burt, termed the healthcare as a weak link at the centre, which could only be resolved by transferring it to the NHS.

The probe is expected to put more pressure on the ministers to deal with growing concerns about healthcare at Yarl’s Wood.

The inquiry comes just before chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers’s impending report on Yarl’s Wood. The report is also expected to disapprove of the conditions at the centre.

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