Summary of report content
Healthwatch Doncaster's Health Ambassador's network have summarised the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report found that every effort is made to support families who may have may have difficulties obtaining food, especially when they are not IT confident or have English as a first language. Charities have been supportive in providing equipment for school aged children so they can access school work. There has been an increase in making back yards as useful as possible, for which tools have been lent. Asylum seekers in general have struggled with the national guidelines in terms of what they can and cannot do during the pandemic. Many appear unaware of the continuing need for social distancing. Living in shared accommodation during the lock down has caused conflict within households. Asylum seekers have experienced additional stress during this pandemic as they fear for family in their home countries and about their own future. The Home Office have not been carrying out asylum interviews during the pandemic. The lack of decision making by the Home Office has been frustrating for many, and often inexplicable. Accessing emergency dental services has been challenging, the first hurdle being able to navigate the automated system at the start of the 111 call as interpreters are often needed.
Healthwatch Doncaster made a number of recommendations including that there should be wider use of telephone interpreter services by the hospital; information should be provided in numerous languages; and now there is greater reliance on IT in all realms of life, reliable WiFi in all NASS accommodation is essential.