In the month of June 2015 publication in Inside time National Newspaper for Prisoners & Detainees, Judge Dennis Challeen wrote an open letter to the new Justice Secretary Michael Gove. He wrote:
“we want them to have self worth, so we destroy their self worth
To be responsible, so we take away all responsibility
To be part of our community, so we isolate them from the community
To be positive and constructive, so we degrade them and make them useless
To be non violent, so we put them where there is violence all round
To be kind and loving people, so we subject them to hatred and cruelty
To quit being tough guys, so we put them where the tough guy is respected
To quit hanging around losers, so we put all the losers under one roof
To quit exploiting us, so we put them where they exploit each other
We want them to take control of their own lives own their own problems and quit being parasites, so make them totally dependent on us.”
In a book “The Rule of Law”, wrote by Lord Tom Bingham in page 3 under “The Importance of the Rule of Law” he wrote:
“ Dicey gave three meanings to the rule of law. ‘We mean, in the first place.’ he wrote, ‘that no man is punishable or can lawfully be made to suffer in body or goods except for a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary courts of the land.’ Dicey’s thinking was clear. If anyone – you or I – is to be penalized it must not be for breaking some rule dreamt up by an ingenious minister or official in order to convict us. …
Dicey expressed his second meaning in this way: ‘We mean in the second place, when we speak of “rule of law” as a characteristic of our country, not only that with us no man is above the law, but (which is different thing) that here, every man, whatever be his rank or condition, is subject to the ordinary law of the realm and amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals.’ Thus no one is above the law, and all are subject to the same law administered in the same courts. The first is the point made by Dr Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) in 1733:
‘Be you never so high, the Law is above you. So if you maltreat a penguin in the London Zoo, you do not escape prosecution because you are Archbishop of Canterbury; If you sell honours for a cash reward, it does not help that you are Prime Minister. But the second point is important too. There is no special law or court which deals with archbishops and prime ministers: the same law, administered in the same courts, applies to them as to everyone else.”
In Prison Service Order PSO3050 Continuity of Healthcare for Prisoners & Detainees:
“This PSO contains guidance to improve the continuity of healthcare received by prisoners. It includes guidance on reception, transfer and discharge of prisoners, with particular focus on those with ongoing health needs. The PSO
also sets out clinical management of outpatient escorts and NHS inpatient episodes. It contained statements that Prisons is expected to treated in the same standard of care as if they were in the community.”
One would equally expect that this guidance apply to Healthcare in Immigration Detention Centres across the
I used three adjectives to qualify Healthcare at Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre. I have used three articles lifted from two renowned and highly respected Judges and an extract of the legislation to drive home my point. I would now tell my story using these three articles to justify that my use of three strong adjectives to describe the services and treatment received at Colnbrook is not unfounded, misguided or a distorted perception of a frustrated detainee.
It is a well known norm that when prisoners or detainees make complaint(s) against member of staff or healthcare
they receive reprisals and constant victimisation as a result of their complaint.
I made a complaint against Healthcare staff who had previously given a confirmation to Colnbrook Unit Wing
Staff not to move and isolate a new resident with medical problem. She confirmed to them without any medical test that I was not exposed to any risk or danger sharing a room with a new resident with an itching condition (I suspected to be scabies at the time) despite the fact that resident (I would called Mr “Z”) had expressed to Healthcare in his own words as he speaks little English, “I am no good to be with anyone or share a room with another.”. When he told me of his statement to Healthcare, I went to the Wing staff and Manager, and not only did I highlight my observation(s) of Mr Z constant loud scratching of his body throughout the night but my concern(s) and fear(s) that I am at risk of getting infected with the disease/condition. I was quickly told that the lady at Healthcare confirmed to them I am not at any risk. But four days later, my body was on fire, I was itching all over my body and had sleepless nights.
I was so frustrated at this fact that I raised this serious concern to the staff. I got even more frustrated when the same lady at healthcare who had confirmed to the staff that I was not at risk repeatedly blocked me from seeing the doctor(s), saying she has seen me. That it was not scabies but a normal itching despite the fact my body was red and covered with bruises.
I wrote complaint after complaint to the Manager Colnbrook, Manager Healthcare and to the Home Office. For over three weeks neither myself or Mr Z was seen by a doctor until Mr Z wrote and submitted a complaint himself. We did not know at the time why the Healthcare, after the receipt of Mr Z’s complaint, quickly came after him before he returned to our room and called him for a doctor’s appointment.
Little did we both know that the Colnbrook Healthcare staff had confirmed to Home Office the previous day, before the receipt of Mr Z’s complaint, that he was fit and well for his Asylum interview. Because Mr. Z had declined to attend an Asylum interview citing ill-health and the fact he had not slept for weeks. The Home Office refused his Asylum Claim application on the grounds for non-compliant citing ‘confirmation of good health’, received from healthcare despite the fact that Healthcare was aware he was sick and in receipt of my numerous complaints. It was one single person (a lady) at healthcare, doing all these and preventing both of us (myself and Mr Z) from seeing the doctor.
It was during Mr Z’s appeal against the decision/refusal of his Asylum claim by Home Office that I asked him to hand over all my complaints to his solicitors. These complaints and list of medications prescribed by the same healthcare who had earlier confirmed that he was fit and healthy were presented to the Judge who questioned the Home Office decision in court. They admitted receiving my complaints and it was established that Colnbrook healthcare had misled Home Office. Mr Z was later released on bail shortly after this hearing.
While Mr Z was leaving the centre on bail he said to me, “I am a good Muslim, therefore I would tell you what I have done behind you. If at any time you feel pains around your chest area. I may be responsible for it because of my stay with you in the same room. Call me to be your witness at anytime as your witness I know I am dying. I told healthcare I am not good to share a room with another person they did not listen. Look at how you started itching few days after I moved to your room. When you were complaining to staff for them to move me away from the room. One staff member told to make a complaint against you, that you threw a chair at me. I am really sorry. You are a good man. It is now your complaints that helped my case. I want to be your friend. Please forgive me. Please here is my mobile number contact anytime you like and I would always pray for you and may be come and visit you soon.”
How else can I describe this kind of behaviour and conduct? That is why I called it unconscionable behaviour and an absolute cruelty and wickedness. How else can I describe this conduct? That was why I was compelled to use to Judge Dennis Challeen’s open letter to Michael Gove, in which his words capture the events taken place here. He wrote: “we want them to have self worth, so we destory their self worth, to be kind and loving people, so we subject them to hatred and cruelty.”
How can a staff/nurse of a Healthcare at Colnbrook Detention Centre in a democratic society like Britain float the rules, regulations and standards of NHS and Nurse Standards, fail to comply with the guidelines in PSO 3050, subject detainees through weeks and months of unbearable pains, sleepless nights, anxiety and frustrations be so high and above the rule of law? That was the reason(s) why I cited Lord Bingham’s quotation in his book “Rule of Law”
Victimisation after numerous Complaints I made repeated requests to see the doctor but was denied. I was referred to see the doctor by the nurse after obtaining my x-ray report from Hillingdon hospital but each time my name was taken off this list by the Healthcare staff, which I suspect to be the lady I made a complaint against earlier. The series of events leading to my name being taken off mirrors when I was deliberately refused access to a doctor when I contacted an infection from Mr Z.
I contacted the Manager, Healthcare Colnbrook IRC on 9th, 11th and 13th December 2014. I contacted Home Office on 15th December 2014 as a follow up to all these previous complaints in relation to Mr Z’s infection and risk. Meanwhile I had been waiting for over 19 months and counting for x-ray on my lower back and hip during this period I was exposed to another suffering. I was only taken to Hillingdon hospital for this x-ray on the 1st of December 2014. It was just 9 days after I was taken to hospital for x-ray that I started making my complaints about the risk Mr. Z poses to my health by his location to share a room with me. I was made to suffer for over 3 to 4 months before I received reports of the scan.
One whole month went by, without a satisfactory response from healthcare. I believe this was a reprisal for my complaints. I had to contact Hillingdon hospital myself for a copy of my x-ray as Colnbrook healthcare informed me that the scan revealed minor degenerative changes without showing the images. I contacted the hospital repeatedly on 4th and 6th January 2015 requesting for copies of images my x-ray as my excruciating pains on my lower back as result of a fall from a chair cannot be a minor degenerative change.
I was taken back to Hillingdon hospital on 1 February 2015 for a second x-ray which I assume was as a result non-availability of images from the 1st scan. I have shown these images from the 2nd x-ray to nurses at healthcare as the images and the curve on my spine does not seem to suggest that the defect(s) are really a minor degenerative change.
I have since then been referred to see the doctors but again crossed off the list on the day of the appointment. I wrote to the Home Office on 8 June 2015 to complain as my protracted problem has now turned to erectile dysfunction. As I correctly anticipated, my name was taken off the doctor’s list for my booked appointment for 10 June 2015. I asked the Manager of Colnbrook healthcare on the morning of 10th June 2015 to confirm if I have a doctor’s appointment. He confirmed to me that my doctor’s appointment was 2pm on the same day. When I arrived at healthcare and knocked on the door I was informed that my name was not on the list. I insisted on seeing the manager or the doctor as this was 6th time my name has been taken off the list. I was eventually seen by the doctor who informed me he is paid to see only 6 person(s) on each visit. I was also informed that I have been referred for MRI scan which I strongly doubt due my previous experience with healthcare.
During my consultation with the doctor, he asked to leave the room so that he can make a call to the hospital to book for urgent MRI Scan whilst waiting in the waiting area. I got into a conversation with a resident whom I share my frustration and expressed my feeling that it was the lady I wrote a complaint against who is the person responsible for all protocol and assisting the doctor on 10th of June (the 6th time my name was taken off the doctors list). A male nurse heard our private conversation and asked me why I felt it was this lady. I gave him my honest explanation.
The events that happened after this one on one chat was dramatic, some few minutes after leaving healthcare, the manager, the male nurse that overheard my private conversation and the lady I was accusing emerged in front my room looking for me. I was called out to meet them from the IT room and all their questions focused on how I would feel if I am the lady and someone is accusing me of removing their name from the list. No one asked or imagined the cruelty of leaving a detainee waiting for an urgent medical treatment which has affected my erection. When I asked a simple common sense question of why they did not log into their system and print the name the person who had printed the doctor’s list on each of those days my name was taken of the list. The lady become aggressive and started pointing her fingers in the direction of my face. I perceive the conduct as bullying upon the fact that they had shown me no evidence the referral for MRI Scan has been done.
Is this not cruelty? Is this not victimisation for making a genuine complaint? Do I need to die before I receive treatment at Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre?