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National AIDS Trust Welcomes Welsh Assembly Decision to Grant Health Care to Refused Asylum Seekers

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Health Minister Edwina Hart has today announced Wales will now allow refused asylum seekers to access free health care.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust, comments;

“We welcome the Welsh Assembly’s decision to give access to free health care to refused asylum seekers in Wales. It is a decision that recognises the inhumanity, increased cost and public health risks of denying people healthcare.

For years policy in England and Wales has meant refused asylum seekers have been denied free healthcare. Many have as a result faced enforced ill-health as government policy has left them destitute and unable to pay for treatment. In the case of HIV, the lack of treatment also means a greater risk of people passing it on.

We are delighted Wales has taken a lead and we urge the Department of Health in England to reconsider its position on this issue. England’s Department of Health is now alone in trying to justify an inhumane policy that withholds health care from those trapped by circumstance within its borders.”

Notes to the Editor:

For further information contact Katherine Sladden 02078146733 / press@nat.org.uk

National AIDS Trust

The National AIDS Trust (NAT) is the UK's leading independent policy and campaigning voice on HIV and AIDS. It aims to prevent the spread of HIV, encourage early diagnosis, ensure people living with HIV have access to treatment and care, and eradicate HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

www.nat.org.uk