Think through the likely benefits available to the families you will support
As you prepare your application for the Home Office, you will not have an understanding of the family’s specific medical needs, but you don’t need to be a health expert to help the refugees you support navigate the healthcare system in the UK. At one point in our lives, we have all registered with a GP or seen a doctor and therefore have the knowledge it takes to help a newly arrived refugee do the same. However, as refugees often arrive with little documentation and will likely not speak English, it will be helpful to research how your local GP surgery will register the family. You can find more information about helping refugees to access healthcare in our healthcare resource.
All Groups who apply now will be welcoming families under the UKRS scheme, and many families may contain those who have medical needs. Use our resource to understand what medical needs are.
When speaking to a GP surgery, explain a little about the project as they may not have worked with resettled refugees before. The following questions will help you get an idea of what it takes to register a newly arrived refugee in the local GP surgery and will help you answer questions 3.4h-j:
- Find GP surgeries in your area
- What documentation is needed to register a new patient?
- Is the surgery accepting new patients?
- Will phone interpretation be provided? Be sure to remind them that this is available.
- Will they be able to book an appointment within one week of the family’s arrival?
- If the BRP card is delayed, will the family still be able to register?
- Is the surgery aware that they can claim a single payment of £2,600 per family member from the Home Office? They can find more information here in the Healthcare Funding Instruction. This is a single payment that can be claimed in the first 12 months following the refugees’ arrival in the United Kingdom.
- If the surgery have not had refugees or asylum seekers as patients previously, direct them to the British Medical Association materials aimed at helping healthcare providers.
3.4h. Have you identified GP surgeries with capacity to register new patients close to where the resettled family will live?
If you are applying for approval in principle and have yet to secure housing, you may not know which GP surgery will be closest or most convenient for the family you support. However, most GP surgeries will have similar registration processes so simply contact the surgery in the area where the family you support is likely to live in order to demonstrate on your application that you understand what is needed.
3.4i. Is a further tick box answer and one of your sponsor obligations. If the GP practice does have a different system for registration which means you will not be able to register a family within one week of arrival, explain this here.
3.4j. What research have you done to provide guidance to the resettled family about accessing other health services such as dental services and local mental health or wellbeing services? (200 words)
Explain here the steps you have taken to explore what dental health services are available locally, and what support there is for those needing support for their mental health, should this be required. You could consider asking:
- If needed, would the GP surgery help to signpost refugees to mental health services?
- What organisations in the area can offer mental health support to refugees? Will the GP surgery be able to signpost the family to access these services if needed? You will also find it useful to research whether there are specialist services in your area.
- Access the mental health services providers created by University of East London here: https://www.uel.ac.uk/our-research/research-school-psychology/refugee-mental-health-wellbeing-portal/resource-centre/directory-services
Your Group may find it helpful to research different dental providers in your area in preparation for the refugee family’s arrival:
- Find dentists in your area who accept NHS patients
- What’s the registration process?
- Are they accepting new NHS patients?
- Does the practice offer interpretation to patients with limited English?
- Do they work with nervous patients? It’s unlikely that the refugees you support will have had access to dental care in some years, if ever.
Whereas NHS doctors and hospitals have a duty and funding to provide interpreters, dentists and opticians do not so you should plan to have interpreters available for these appointments in order to ensure they have informed consent for procedures.
Consider other health related needs the family might have, such as a need for the opticians or family planning services.