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Healthcare Inadequate at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Cente

Yarl’s Wood one of the country's biggest immigration detention centers has been accused of providing inadequate healthcare for long-term detainees, according to the report of the prison watchdog.//

Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers launched an inquiry into healthcare at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire following concerns raised over the treatment of two female asylum seekers from Uganda.

Although Owers praised the work of nurses and a doctor at the detention center, she pointed out a series of management failures.

According to the report, "The delivery of healthcare was undermined by a lack of needs assessment, weak and clinical governance systems, inadequate staff training in relation to trauma."

"The inadequacy of healthcare systems was compounded by the unresponsiveness of Immigration and Nationality Directorate about an alleged history of torture to adverse medical consequences of continued detention.

"When clinical concerns were raised, the information was not systematically addressed or actioned. Nor was independent medical opinion sought or adhered to."

The two asylum seekers, Sophie Odogo and Enid Ruhango, had been at Yarl's Wood for nearly a year and were part of a 38-day mass hunger-strike by detainees, according to pressure group Medical Justice.

Odogo was reported to have been reduced to a state of mental collapse at Yarl's Wood, while Ruhango had been traumatised by her experience at the centre.

"I was a victim of the Ugandan authorities and this inquiry shows I became a victim of the UK authorities," said Ruhango, who along with Odogo still faces deportation, though they are no longer at Yarl's Wood.

Home Office Minister Liam Byrne said he took "very seriously" the recommendations contained in the chief inspector's report.

He said, "An action plan responding in detail to them is currently being drawn up."


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