Doctors of the World launches new clinic in London

The new Doctors of the World Clinic in east London was launched on 16 October 2019. After 16 years of work in the area, their clinical services have now moved to purpose built premises which will allow volunteer doctors and caseworkers to support more patients than ever.

Doctors of the World need to be able to see more patients and scale up their services, as they estimate that between 50,000 and 500,000 people in the UK need them. These are patients who have been too frightened to go to see a doctor because they are scared that they will be deported by the Home Office, that their data will be shared, and that they will face bills of thousands of pounds which they simply can’t afford. Often, they are wrongfully turned away by front-line healthcare staff, and some simply don’t know how the system works.

Many of Doctors of the World patients won’t have seen a doctor for years, often waiting until it’s too late. Common conditions, if left untreated for extended periods, might become difficult to cure and are potentially life threatening. On average, their patients have been living in the UK for over six years, and often have not been able to receive healthcare.

These delays are also harmful for their physical and mental health, and might have repercussions on public health and treatment costs.

Fortune was born in Uganda, where he lived as a gay man in a country where homosexuality is illegal. He escaped persecution and fled to the UK, but still felt he had to hide his sexuality which led to crippling headaches and inexplicable pains. Feeling at his lowest point, he came to our clinic.

“The kind of care I received is something I had never experienced,” he says. “They are just kind, lovely people”. Doctors of the World helped Fortune to register with a GP, who diagnosed severe depression.

The London Clinic is at the heart of what they do in the UK. Volunteer doctors, nurses and caseworker provide essential care and support to children, women, and men who have fled conflict and discrimination, or escaped torture, exploitation, and poverty. Many of them now live under the radar, in unstable accommodation, and struggle to survive, often homeless and living below the poverty line.

Volunteer doctors and nurses provide medical consultations for these patients, while caseworkers help them register to see a GP so that they can see a doctor in the future. They campaign to ensure everyone can access the healthcare they need.

Helping people in need at home and abroad is central to their ethos. As part of the Médecins du Monde international network, they strive to provide care to the most vulnerable, not only in emergencies abroad but also on our doorstep. They can count on over 3,000 volunteers working in 80 countries around the world, focusing on conflict and emergencies, harm reduction, maternal and child’s health, and migrants.

Since opening in 1998, Doctors of the World have directly helped almost 20,000 people in the UK. This new clinic will provide new opportunities for patients and volunteers, allowing to provide more holistic care to patients in need.

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