“It’s just nice to able to help in whatever little way that you can because these are patients who really need a lot of help,” says Khalil Hassanally, a GP who volunteers at our clinic in London roughly once a month.

Our volunteer doctors in the UK provide treatment and advice for acute health problems  and take detailed medical histories of patients, which can then be passed on when the patient finds an NHS GP.

“We’ve got a lot more time than a GP would have in the NHS,” Khalil says. “We can do a much more detailed medical history, we can have an interpreter present, and then we can send that information to the GP.”

Khalil, who is 32 years old and is from London, heard about Doctors of the World while he was a medical student. He finished his GP training in 2015 and started volunteering with us in January 2016, alongside his work in NHS surgeries.

He says the patients at the London clinic, who include undocumented migrants, refugees, and the homeless, often do not know that they are entitled to free primary care or feel intimidated when dealing with the authorities. He sees patients who have travelled several hours from other UK cities to visit the clinic.

For some it’s a long journey and it also costs a lot to travel, money that most don’t have. It’s a shame people are having to take such extreme measures to get the care they’re entitled to.

Khalil’s patients, especially those who have fled to the UK after being tortured or persecuted in their home countries, are often suffering from severe mental health problems.

“My most recent patient said it was just good being able to speak to someone for half an hour, because no one else had been able to give him that time to speak about all his different troubles,” he says.