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Migrant sues government over medication triggering psychosis

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A Nigerian migrant is suing the government over the claim that her psychosis was triggered by medication given to her at an immigration removal centre. The 36-year-old, known as GB, was prescribed an anti-malaria drug during her time at the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre after she outstayed her visa.

A High Court judge has ruled that GB is permitted to bring her negligence case forward against the Home Office. Government lawyers have disputed this allegation, saying that it is in fact the operators Serco or the individual doctor who prescribed the medication that are “more directly responsible”.

Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire currently detains around 400 women under the threat of deportation. GB first came to the UK in 2010 but was detained in June 2012 after outstaying her visa. She said that she was prescribed the drug by a local GP through Serco, who provided her medical cover.

“clear responsibilities for her treatment”

A few weeks after being prescribed the medication she complained of hearing voices in her head. The centre’s mental health team assessed her and concluded that she was unstable and sectionable. She was provided with specialist care and an anti-psychotic drug before being released with both residence and reporting requirements. She has since been granted refugee status until July 2019.

Mr Justice Coulson said it was only “fair, just and reasonable” for her to open a negligence case. He added: “The defendant (Home Office) decided to detain GB, and consequently had clear responsibilities for her treatment as a detainee as a result.”

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