Asylum seekers staying in a Colchester hotel have been subject to a “lack of care”, including limited access to key medication, the leader of the Council has said.
An unknown number of people have been living in the hotel as part of an agreement with the Home Office. Fears have since been raised about the level of care being provided to these individuals, however.
A strongly-worded open letter written by the leader of Colchester Council, Cllr David King, to Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, has highlighted some of the issues – including a breakout of scabies, a painful rash-like illness which can be easily spread.
READ MORE: Colchester Hospital medical care goes from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’ due to lack of staff
Other issues raised by Cllr King include “serious concerns about the mental health of a number of the residents”, poor cleaning regimes, unclean bed linen and “no access to medications” for people with severe mental health conditions.
Cllr King says: “There has been a scabies outbreak at the hotel and due to lack of primary care and diagnosis this has spread out into the wider community, including local CVS organisations. There are serious concerns about the mental health of a number of the residents.
“The local CVS who visit the hotel weekly, along with caseworkers from MIND, report men with severe mental health conditions who, although medicated, have no access to these medications due to [a] lack of primary care.”
Discussing standards at the hotel, Cllr King adds: “The hotel is dirty, cleaning regimes are poor, our CVS receive daily complaints about the food. Bed lined doesn’t seem to be cleaned regularly and with the scabies outbreak this is essential.”
Explaining why he wrote the letter, Cllr King said he felt he needed to “highlight the lack of facilities, cleaning and access to local healthcare services.”
He added: “As a local authority, we have a series of legal obligations, which we are obliged to fulfil, but we are also entitled to point out that housing those seeking asylum in hotels without the proper support arrangements is simply not good enough and needs immediate action from the Home Office.”
The Home Office was approached for a response to Cllr King’s letter but they did not reply by the time of publication.
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