SoR rejects government plans to X-ray migrant children

Home secretary Suella Braverman suggests medical imaging to determine age may be part of new "robust' measures

Published: 03 November 2022 SoR

The SoR has criticised plans to use medical imaging methods on child asylum seekers to determine their age.

The idea was floated this week by home secretary Suella Braverman as she promised “robust” new checks next year to verify the ages of migrants arriving to the UK in small boats.

The proposals, originally suggested by Ms Braverman’s predecessor Priti Patel earlier this year, are to use “scientific methods” to expose adult migrants posing as children in order to be granted residency.

An “expert panel” is said to be looking into the use of X-rays and CT and MRI scans and understood to be close to reporting its findings.

In a statement, the SoR condemned the use of medical imaging for such a purpose on compassionate and safety grounds, adding that it would also deflect resources away from essential healthcare activities.

“The resurgence of this concept shows a lack of compassion to those in need, as well as disregard for radiation safety and a blatant lack of understanding and respect for the work of radiographers and the health service.

 “The NHS is in the midst of a workforce crisis, while our patients are dealing with the stress of growing waiting lists. The focus of this Government should be on addressing these fundamental issues facing patients, healthcare workers and the nation as a whole,” said the Society.