An influx of immigrants into Croydon is ‘adding a strain to the whole local health economy’, an official NHS report admitted last week.
It says that many of the 2,000 migrants flowing into Croydon each year fail to register with a GP and so are ‘more likely’ to go to hospital when they need medical treatment.
This puts strain on the system, according to the report from Croydon’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The borough hosts the UK’s only domestic asylum screening unit, which partly contributes to the high number of immigrants.
A spokesperson for NHS Croydon CCG said: “New migrants are one of the many factors that make up our unique population in Croydon.
“As our primary care system is particular to the UK, many people arriving new to the area may not initially realise that they can register with a GP, which puts more pressure on the hospitals.
“We have a range of urgent care services in place to meet immediate health needs.”
The greatest stress has been on the NHS trust which ruins Croydon University Hospital, whose A&E admissions rose by more than a thousand year-on-year from 2014/15 to 2015/16.
Outpatient attendances at the hospital also soared by 14% from 97,211 to 110,638 over the same period.
The Lunar House asylum screening unit in Wellesley Road is the only place to make in-country applications for asylum in the UK.
Croydon’s refugee services hit headlines last year when council leader Tony Newman threatened to take the Home Office to court for cutting the authority’s £20 million budget for looking after hundreds of unaccompanied refugee children.
He branded their actions ‘completely unacceptable’ and while funding was restored after crisis talks, it is still insufficient to cover the costs racked up by the council.
Picture courtesy of Eltpics, with thanks