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Physiotherapists Say: Eradicate Healthcare Inequalities for Asylum Seekers

5 July 2005 - 9:10am

Asylum seekers face healthcare inequalities - Press Release for ARC.

Embargo: 00.00hrs, 14 May 2003

Inequalities in healthcare for asylum seekers will be high on the agenda for discussion at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy's (CSP) fifteenth Annual Representative Conference in Birmingham (May 15-17).

CSP Council will urge the Society to campaign for a comprehensive strategy for ensuring inequalities in access to healthcare for asylum seekers is eradicated and is calling for consideration of the vital role physiotherapy has to play in improving and maintaining the health of asylum seekers.

Sandra Mellors, chartered physiotherapist at Mile End Hospital and CSP Council member, said: 'Asylum seekers, refugees and other immigrants bring a wealth of skills and experience to the economic and cultural life of the UK. According to the Home Office study carried out last year, in 1999 to 2000, migrants, including asylum seekers and refugees, made a net fiscal contribution to the economy of approximately £2.5 billion, worth 1p on income tax.

'However, a number of factors are contributing to serious inequalities in asylum seekers' abilities to access healthcare. These factors include the Government's policy of continually moving asylum seekers around the country. This means access to GPs and other healthcare services is inconsistent and leads to a breakdown in the ability to complete a course of treatment. Asylum seekers can also experience language difficulties if adequate interpretation services are not provided. There are also issues around gender and access to women-only services and a need to understand specific mental health problems caused by isolation, ill-treatment and torture.

Sandra adds: 'Most refugees and asylum seekers come to this country in good health but because of the squalor of the living conditions they are given, no money and therefore poor nutrition, and poor access to health care, their health degenerates rapidly. We believe asylum seekers should be entitled to NHS services, like other residents and visitors to the UK.'

Over 200 chartered physiotherapists, students and assistants are expected to attend the three-day event where several other motions have been put forward for discussion.

The conference starts at 13.30pm on Thursday 15 May, and closes at 12.30pm on Saturday 17 May. It takes place at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham.


For further information or to request a media pass, contact Raquel Simpson on 020 7306 6628 or Prabh Salaman on 020 7306 6163 before 15 May or on 07786 332 198 during the conference.

Media information:

  • A full list of motions is available on request.
  • All media should report to the registration desk on arrival.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the country's 40,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants.  Physiotherapy is Britain's fourth largest health profession and continues to grow all the time.

A full archive of earlier CSP press releases can be found by visiting


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