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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Concern over detainee treatment
Yarl's Wood detention centre
Asylum seekers are held at Yarl's Wood before deportation
An MP is calling for an inquiry into why a woman held at Yarl's Wood detention centre had to be admitted to hospital for psychiatric treatment.

North East Beds MP Alistair Burt has asked the Home Office to look at the treatment of women seeking asylum at the immigration centre.

Mr Burt said one woman, who had been on hunger strike over her detention, went to hospital at the end of last week.

The government said mental health concerns were addressed at all centres.

Alistair Burt MP
Women detainees at Yarl's Wood can be very fragile, particularly if they have claimed to have been victims of rape and torture
North East Beds MP Alistair Burt

He said he wanted the case investigated by Prisons Ombudsman Stephen Shaw.

Mr Burt said: "I am very concerned about the implications of this case. Women detainees at Yarl's Wood can be very fragile, particularly if they have claimed to have been victims of rape and torture in the countries from which they have fled.

"In this particular case it appears that a woman, with no psychological or psychiatric problems when received into detention has now been admitted for urgent psychiatric care.

"I visited her over the summer, and am aware that she was deeply distressed and in need of very careful attention, particularly during the time she was refusing food.

'Health considered'

"At some stage her condition became more acute, and it must be a matter of concern how this has happened, and what the implications are for other similarly fragile women in detention."

A spokesman for the Home Office said he could not comment on individual cases.

"However, if there were concerns about a detainee's health we would act on them as appropriate," he said.

"This includes hospitalisation where necessary. All asylum applications are considered individually on their merits by skilled caseworkers.

"People are removed only if all appeals have been heard and dismissed. We do of course take an individuals state of mental health into account when considering their claim."


SEE ALSO:
Inquiry into detainee's 'suicide'
15 Sep 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts


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