GLASGOW doctors have demanded extra resources to cope with escalating numbers of refugees and asylum seekers, warning that practices are “maxed out.” GPs criticised a “bizarre conclusion” that people arriving in the UK – some fleeing torture with serious illnesses like Aids – would have “no additional health requirements.”
Doctors say they can’t offer patients, many of whom are coping with severe psychological trauma, adequate time in appointments. They criticized a decision to direct resources to social services and not health boards.
Delegates at the BMA Scottish Local Medical Committees (LMC) conference yesterday called on the Scottish and UK governments to increase funding. Dr Patricia Moultrie, Glasgow LMC medical secretary, who works in practices across Glasgow, said: “We are looking for more resources directed into general practice to allow GPs to give this group of patients the time and the consultations that they require: The funding that comes in is directed to social service teams but we are at the frontline of care.
“They are a group of people with very complex physiological and psychological problems and it is difficult to deal with that within a short consultation. There are the undiagnosed medical conditions that have perhaps not been well managed as they were making their journey across. There is also the psychological trauma. The proportion of these people who have been victims of torture is extraordinarily significant, particularly from countries where rape is used as a form of torture. They need the opportunity to develop a sense of trust with their GP.”
An earlier Evening Times article interviewed Norma McKinnon, manager of the human rights group, Freedom From Torture, which runs five centers in the UK and Scotland. She noted that the stories they hear are both “harrowing and shockingly familiar…This has to stop.
“But when you are sitting with another human being and you are trying to follow their eyes, and they are describing something that is very painful for them…in a context that, for them, is shameful or humiliating…then you really engage.”
Photo above from Freedom From Torture, which welcomes and assists survivors at a number of centers in England and Scotland.