Health-care and psychology for asylum seekers

Foto: Mathilde Bech

Asylum seekers in all Red Cross asylum centres can receive assistance if they are ill, whether their injuries are physical or psychological.

The first medical record is filed immediately upon arrival, in order to ensure that newly arrived asylum seekers can be treated for acute injuries, for example. Special attention is given to the most vulnerable, such as asylum children who have fled on their own, or asylum seekers with frail health.

Asylum seekers’ right to health-care treatment

According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, asylum children have the same right to health-care treatment as Danish children. Adult asylum seekers have the right to acute hospital care, but in cases where their condition is not acute, their rights fall within the scope of provisions under the Danish Aliens Act. This is because asylum seekers are not covered by the national health service. According to law and general guidelines, however, they have access to treatment which is necessary, urgent, or pain-relieving.

Health-care personnel attached to the Asylum Department

Red Cross have a permanent staff of nurses, health visitors, psychologists and doctors, all with special competences and experience in working with people who have been through prolonged and harsh experiences such as war, disaster and flight.

Upon arrival, health-care personnel ask asylum seekers about possible physical or mental problems. It is important to find out, for example, if an asylum seeker has a chronic disease or has been subjected to torture. In this way, health-care personnel can assess the need for a referral to a medical specialist or psychologist, or other necessary treatment.