Park Inn: Home Office cannot direct mental health care for asylum seekers after review

The Home Office cannot be trusted with health assessments and the health of asylum seekers after an internal review showed the Park Inn attacker made more than 70 calls for help before the knife attack in Glasgow, a leading Scottish charity has said.

A redacted version of the review details the treatment of asylum seekers in the city during the first lockdown – during which many were moved to hotels.

Baddredin Abadlla Adam, 28, contacted the Home Office, Mears and Migrant Help 72 times regarding his accommodation and health in the lead up to the June 26, 2020 attack.

Six people, including a police officer, were injured in the incident which saw the 28-year-old attacker shot dead by armed officers.

The review says that in the context of a global pandemic, moving people who had ‘not previously been assessed as vulnerable’ to hotel accommodation ‘seems healthy’.

However, the Scottish Refugee Council said the review shows the vulnerability checks carried out by the Home Office and its contractors were “completely inadequate”.

Policy officer Graham O’Neill said: ‘Needs assessments from the Home Office and Mears were not up to par with regard to people who have been displaced from their self-contained accommodation between March and April 2020 to these hotels.

“They should not be described as vulnerability assessments. This is a misleading use of what actually happened.

When housing and social services provider Mears acted to move people from their self-contained accommodation at the start of the first lockdown, there was no mechanism to reassess the vulnerability of asylum seekers.

Families, people with reduced mobility, pregnant women and the elderly have been recognized as vulnerable.

READ MORE: Asylum seeker contacted Home Office and contractors 72 times before stabbing Glasgow

HeraldScotland:

The review, which was published internally in August 2020, states: “Although there is evidence to support Mears’ claim that those who were classified as vulnerable were not transferred to hotels, this needs assessment depended on whether people had previously been identified as vulnerable. .”

He added that ‘individual needs changed during the lockdown and there was no mechanism to reassess their needs’.

Mr O’Neill stressed that any vulnerability checks should have included mental health checks “because he called for a separate body to be in charge of health assessments.

He added: ‘We can no longer leave mental health protection and care to the Home Office as the lead agency.

“We need to be resourced and clearly led by health care practitioners, because otherwise we’re just going to have more irresponsible placement of people in unsuitable accommodation and being left there for months.”

Meanwhile, Positive Action in Housing chief executive Robina Qureshi said Home Office contractors were ‘desensitized to people’s urgent needs’, as shown by Adam’s 72 calls to the eve of the attack on Park Inn.

HeraldScotland:

The review admitted that the number of attempts to contact authorities “should have served as a warning”.

Ms Qureshi said: ‘The only recourse he and others had was the Home Office who contracted Mears Group and Migrant Help and both are, in our view, desensitized to people’s urgent needs.

“Asylum seekers inside this hotel told us they were actively discouraged from speaking to outside organizations or complaining about the conditions.

She added that some people said they spent hours contacting Migrant Help for a GP appointment.

“They are completely cut off from the traditional services that the rest of us accept, either because they are not authorized to access these services or because they do not know it. In this context, it becomes clearer the extent of the isolation he and others must have felt.

Mr O’Neill has issued calls for an independent judicial inquiry to investigate both the events in Glasgow and “the trauma caused to those who have moved into these unsuitable accommodations”.

He compared hotel accommodation to a ‘regime-type existence’, with asylum seekers not allowed to work and at best £8 a week in terms of funding.

Speaking on the review which found the move to hotels had a ‘significant impact’ on the welfare of asylum seekers, he added: ‘What have they done since they received this report in August 2020? They have actually dramatically increased the number of people in their care to place in this accommodation.

The Home Office has admitted that the use of hotels as long-term accommodation is “unacceptable” and stressed that significant changes have been made.

However, he declined to comment on health assessment issues.

A spokesperson said: “Due to the pandemic, the Home Office has had to use an unprecedented number of hotels for asylum seekers, including in Glasgow.

“The use of hotels is unacceptable and we are working hard to find suitable accommodation for asylum seekers, but local authorities must do all they can to help house people permanently.

“Since this horrific incident, we have undertaken a number of significant changes to keep asylum seekers safe, including how we, our contractors and charities identify vulnerable people and provide them with holistic support. and appropriate accommodation.

“The Home Office has completed the majority of recommendations from the review which found Glasgow hotels to be of good quality, clean and well maintained.

“Our new plan for immigration, which is currently going through Parliament, will fix the broken asylum system, allowing us to give protection to those who qualify and return more quickly those who do not. have no right to be here.”

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