£300k health boost for London’s refugees

Thousands of London’s asylum seekers and refugees will get access to healthcare after a £300,000 charity grant.

Newham-based Doctors of the World UK (DOTW) received the money from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

The money will help DOTW deliver healthcare for the capital’s vulnerable migrants who are excluded from the NHS or not registered with a GP because of their immigration or housing status.

The charity runs clinics and advocacy programmes in London that provide medical care, information and practical support to excluded people such as destitute migrants, sex workers and people with no fixed address.

Peter Gough, GP and volunteer at Doctors of the World UK, said: ‘I’ve been volunteering at the clinic for over five years now.

‘Many of the people I’ve seen through the years have suffered from trauma and face many difficulties in their daily lives.

‘Being able to access healthcare and support can be life-changing for them and at our clinic, they have a place where they can open up and discuss their concern.

‘Having this funding will help us make a difference for many years to come.’

As well as providing healthcare, the charity empowers vulnerable people to overcome barriers to the health system by, for example, helping them to register with their local GP.

The charity’s Stratford clinic helps more 3,000 people every year access GPs, nurses and NHS support. In 2018, the charity’s team of volunteer caseworkers answered 8,725 calls for such assistance – equivalent to spending almost 21 days on the phone.

The City Corporation also works with DOTW to run a mobile GP service delivering healthcare to the Square Mile’s homeless and rough sleepers.

Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said: ‘Doctors of the World provides fantastic support for the most vulnerable in our society.

‘We want to ensure that all Londoners have access to medical care in a safe environment.

‘Together we can reach people who have had no access to healthcare and improve their quality of life.’

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates.

It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital. The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995.

It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

Photo Credit – Doctors of the world

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