On October 23 it was two two years since the introduction of upfront NHS charging, writes Alessandra Sciarra of the Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN). This charge was introduced as part of a number of policies aimed at making the UK a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants, and has now affected thousands of people.
The Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN) took part in a vigil to remember all of those people who have been affected by this policy, from women who are now facing thousands of pounds of debt for giving birth, to people with disabilities unable to meet their basic needs such as food and shelter.
We at LRMN teamed up with the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, MedAct, Migrants Organise, Docs not Cops and Global Justice Now to hold vigils across the country and raise awareness about this issue.
With candles, banners and testimonies from people directly affected by this inhumane policy we reminded our government that the hostile environment is causing suffering and pushing people into destitution.
The vigil was organised as part of the Patients not Passports Campaign. More information can be found at https://patientsnotpassports.co.uk.
In Lewisham, we are running this campaign as part of our Lewisham Borough of Sanctuary campaign.
The best way is to sign up to the newsletter of the campaign on our website to stay in touch on upcoming events and campaign actions. You can also follow us on Twitter at @LRMNetwork.
If you would like to volunteer for LRMN, you can have a look at some of the volunteering vacancies here: https://www.lrmn.org.uk/join-us