Information Now

Help to use health services for refugees and asylum seekers

If you are an asylum seeker or refugee in Newcastle help is available to use health services.

Looking for practical help and support? Read more about support for refugees and asylum seekers on InformationNOW here.


Interpreters for NHS services

If you are unable to speak or understand English well, you can have an interpreter for all NHS services, including on the phone. Say ‘interpreter’ to the receptionist and the language you need. When ringing 999 or NHS 111, say the language you need and they will get someone on the phone. This is a free service.


Accident and Emergency department (A&E)

A&E is based in hospitals for people who are very ill or seriously hurt, and should only be used in an emergency. You can arrive at any time, buy you may have to wait to be seen depending on how ill you are and how busy they are. Appointments are not needed and they are free to use for everyone. In Newcastle the A&E department is based at Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle, entrance on Richardson Road. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Emergency Services: Ambulance

Call 999 (free) if there has been a serious accident or if you or someone else is:

  • bleeding a lot
  • finding it hard to breathe
  • feeling severe pain in the chest
  • showing signs of stroke including sudden
  • weakness on one side of the body/face
  • unconscious

When ringing 999 or NHS 111, say the language you need and they will get someone on the phone. This is a free service.

Emergency services are provided by North East Ambulance Service. They also provide patient transport for clinical and outpatient appointments, if you are eligible.


Doctor or GP services

You and your family need to register for free at a local doctor called a GP.  You need to make an appointment. . If you need an urgent appointment tell the receptionist. You may be given an appointment in the future.

If your GP decides you need medicine, they will give you a prescription. To get your medicine, take the prescription to a pharmacy

Your GP can refer you to a specialist at a hospital. If eligible, your GP can provide a range of free immunisations to protect against certain diseases.

You can request an interpreter in the language you need and they will get someone on the phone. This is a free service.


Dentists

You need to register for free with an NHS Dentist for any treatment to your teeth. Children receive free dental care and adults may have to pay for some treatment. Find out if you can get help to pay for NHS health costs here.

Visit the NHS.UK or the Newcastle Gateshead CCG websites to search for a list of your local dentists. If you can’t find a dentist accepting NHS patients, you should call NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.


Drugs and alcohol

Change, Grow, Live help adults and young people in Newcastle with drug and alcohol problems to reduce their use or stop using safely.


Covid vaccination information

Doctors of the World’s latest addition to the range of accessible, translated information resources about the Covid-19 Vaccine: ‘How to register with a GP and book a vaccine’ animation. This animation illustrates 11 steps explaining how everybody can register with a GP without the need for documentation, and how to book vaccine appointments. The animation has been translated into 23 languages including Spanish, Albanian, Arabic, Romanian, Simplified Chinese, Polish and Portuguese and is now available on their website.


Free prescriptions

If you are receiving asylum support, you should have an HC2 certificate which allows you and your dependants to get free prescriptions, free dental care, eye tests and spectacles. If you do not have an HC2, you need to fill in an HC1 form. If you need help with these forms, contact West End Refugee Service (WERS) or North England Refugee Service (NERS).


Improve your health

Healthworks Newcastle can support you to improve your health. They can help you to stop smoking, exercise, learn to cook and support with breastfeeding. They have 2 venues:


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ+) health support

Rainbow Home provides confidential sexual health support for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees in North East England.


Maternity Services

Maternity care is free for all asylum seekers, refugees and refused asylum seekers receiving Home Office support. Maternity care is classed as immediately necessary and urgent and should never be withheld. Speak to your GP surgery to book an appointment with a midwife.

Maternity Action operate The Maternity Care Access Advice Service which assists women from abroad, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, EU and EEA nationals and UK citizens. Phone between 10 am and 12 pm on Thursdays 0808 800 0041


Mental health and emotional wellbeing

Are you feeling low, anxious, stressed or worried? Finding it difficult to cope or not sleeping well? Contact your GP for an appointment. They will give you advice and refer you for more support from services. Read more about mental health and support on InformationNOW. You can contact the following mental health services for help:

Newcastle Talking Helps offers free talking therapies, which can help with problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, fears, bereavement and relationship difficulties. You can request a referral from your GP or contact them directly to make an appointment.

ReCoCo: The Recovery College  run various peer-led support groups, and free educational and creative courses, which are open to anyone who would find them helpful in their recovery from mental illness, substance misuse, trauma or distress.

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind runs a Safe Space Service MEA House. It is an informal group that offers essential support to adults who are experiencing problems with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Samaritans offer a safe, listening ear if you are in distress. Call their free helpline 24 hours a day . Phone their helpline or text 07725 909090.


Mental health emergency or crisis support

If you are hurt or at immediate risk you call 999.

Mental health services 24 hour support read more about getting help with a mental health problem outside normal working hours.

Crisis resolution and home based treatment team Newcastle and Gateshead can help with your urgent mental health needs. The team of mental health professionals offer assessment and home treatment .You can contact them 24 hours a day 7 days a week.


Non urgent medical advice from NHS 111

NHS 111 gives medical advice over the phone. It is open 24 hours a day. If you do not need to see a GP, they will give you general advice or refer you to a pharmacy. They can book an appointment for you at your GP or Urgent Treatment centre. If it is an emergency they will refer you to A&E and can arrange an ambulance.

NHS 111 is provided by North East Ambulance Service. They also provide patient transport for outpatient/clinical appointments if you are eligible.


Opticians (eye appointments)

You need to make an appointment with an optician to get your eyes checked. If you have an HC2 form you will get eye tests free. Your optician will tell you if you need to pay extra for some products.


Pharmacies

A pharmacy (chemist) provides prescription and non-prescription medicine and advice. Some pharmacists are trained to give help with emergency contraception and sexual health information.


Paying for health services

Doctors of the World UK can help if you have receive a bill or you need advice about whether you may be charged for a health service.

Maternity Action can help if it’s related to maternity costs


Safe Surgeries Newcastle

Safe Surgeries are GP practices that are safe for everyone to use. You can register as a patient if you do not have proof of your: identification, address or immigration status or do not speak English. They display posters so that you know the surgery is a safe place. Interpreters can be used if needed. For more information contact Doctors of the World UK


Screening programmes

Screening helps find diseases like cancer early and is free for those with HC2 forms. If you get a letter about screening it is important you arrange to have this done. You will be offered screening:

  • cervical cancer for women aged 25 to 65
  • breast cancer for women aged 50 to 70
  • bowel cancer for men and women aged 60 to 74
  • prostate cancer for men over 50 years old

Sexual health

New Croft NHS Sexual Health Clinic provides free and confidential sexual health services.

Streetwise support young people aged 11 to 25 years with free information, advice, counselling, support, community activities and sexual health services.


Urgent Treatment Centres

You can use these for minor injuries or urgent care. You do not need an appointment to be seen:


Where this information came from

Public Health at Newcastle City Council in partnership with the Regional Refugee Forum and Connected Voice HAREF shared this information with us at InformationNOW. It was first published as the ‘Newcastle Health Access Card’ in October 2018.

Last updated: June 8, 2022

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