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Charity advises GPs to register undocumented migrants as ‘no fixed abode’

Doctors of the World’s publishes toolkit on how to avoid patient data being passed on to the Home Office

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 21 April 2017

GP practices are being advising to tell undocumented migrants to register as 'no fixed abode' if they want to avoid their data being passed to the Home Office.

The charity Doctors of the World has produced a toolkit for healthcare professionals who want to ensure their surgeries are places where everyone feels safe to visit and defy the data sharing agreement made in January by the UK government and NHS Digital, which stores NHS patients’ data.

The deal allows immigration officials to get hold of patients’ personal details, such as addresses, and then to track down, arrest and deport undocumented migrants.

The deal has made vulnerable patients scared of getting healthcare. Doctors of the World’s UK clinics regularly see people in urgent need, including pregnant women and cancer sufferers, who are afraid to see a doctor due to data-sharing.

According to the Department of Health, the Home Office made 8,127 requests for data in the first 11 months of 2016 alone. This led to 5,854 people being traced by immigration teams.

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