Jon*, a 42-year-old Sudanese man spent five years making the difficult journey to the UK; including time in a forced labor camp and several dangerous sea crossings. Each time he reached a new country, he said, he was met with more problems. Since claiming asylum in the UK nine months ago, he has been moved to new accommodation three times.

Jon’s appointment took place at his accommodation, where he had been moved two months prior. Using a telephone translator, Jon was explained he was distressed. He has diabetes but was registered to a GP on the other side of London and did not feel confident travelling there to get his prescription. He had tried to phone his GP for help, but no-one could understand him.

During his appointment, Jon was asked about his background, his medical history and his mental health. He was very worried about his blood sugar control and described a three-year history of intermittent abdominal pain. He estimated he had lost a stone in weight over the last year. He disclosed frequent nightmares about his past experiences and that he found himself tearful and frustrated most of the time. This was exacerbated by the fact that no-one around him spoke his dialect. Even when services did have a translator; it was never his Arabic dialect.

The RESPOND team supported Jon to register with a local GP and made him an urgent appointment within a week for a diabetes review, also ensuring that a Sudanese Arabic interpreter was booked. Having shown symptoms of PTSD, they requested that the GP make an onward mental health referral. A full infectious screening was done, and blood, urine and stool samples were taken. Jon tested positive for Schistosoma and was seen by UCLH’s specialist tropical diseases clinic for treatment. After a few weeks, Jon and his GP received his Integrated Healthcare Plan in the post, documenting his health and well-being results and plan, meaning he wouldn’t need to repeat this information if his accommodation changed again.

 

*Not his real name