Few GPs who responded to the Pulse survey said they would knowingly register someone in the UK illegally – even though they are not allowed to discriminate according to a patient’s legal status. Only 17% said they would register a patient they believed to be an illegal immigrant, whereas 36% of GPs said they would not.
The findings come as no surprise to Dr Les Goldman (pictured), a Bradford GP who runs a primary care service that he says ‘looks after the patients that most GPs don’t like to accept’.
In 2011 he helped set up Bevan Healthcare, a social enterprise organisation dedicated to providing primary care services to asylum seekers, refugees and homeless people on behalf of the NHS.
Dr Goldman says GP practices are not prejudiced, but there are barriers that make it difficult for asylum seekers.
He says: ‘You might have 20 asylum seekers register in a fortnight, and a GP just can’t cope. It isn’t malice or prejudice. It’s just that your capacity to deal with it is limited.’
Click here to read our investigation ‘How GPs are split on migrant health provision’.