When the Zimbabwean hungerstriker became too weak to walk, Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre refused to arrange for him to be taken to hospital. A visitor contacted an independent doctor who got involved. Only after the High Court issued an order was the man released to hospital, on the verge of organ failure, handcuffed, on day 28 of his hunger strike.
After he recovered, he, some others who had been detained, the doctor and activists came together for a campaign meeting. The group called itself Medical Justice.
We began to send more doctors into immigration removal centres (IRCs). In 2006 we negotiated a protocol with the Home Office that formalised the right of those detained to have access to independent doctors.
We became a registered charity in 2009. We now have 15 members of staff, more than 60 volunteer clinicians and 100 volunteer interpreters. Medical Justice assists between 600 and 1,000 people in detention each year.