CAMPAIGNERS have sent an open letter to the body which oversees GP services in Oxfordshire, calling on it to support a 'safe surgeries' scheme.

Oxford Stand Up To Racism launched the appeal to Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning group, following reports there were people affected by the Windrush scandal who needed medical advice but were too frightened to go to a GP for fear of being deported if they could not provide documentation to register.

Ian Mckendrick, from Oxford Stand Up To Racism, said: "It is appalling that people who have a need and a right to access a GP for advice are being made afraid to because of the Government's 'hostile environment' policy. People have a legal right to register with a GP regardless of their nationality of immigration status."

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He added: "This could include pregnant women, survivors of trafficking, unaccompanied child migrants, and people who have fled war. People often do not know they have this right, and avoid seeking medical help for fear of facing demands for documents they can't access and being reported to the Home Office."

He said the safe surgeries scheme was a network of GP practices committed to tackling barriers preventing access to care.

Each ‘safe surgery' ensured a lack of ID or proof of address, immigration status or language were not barriers to patient registration.

The letter was also signed by Oxford Against Immigration Detention, Oxford & District Trades Council, Oxfordshire UNISON Health Branch, East Oxford Community Association, and Oxford Living Wage Campaign.