I say to my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) and other Members that we are carefully considering alternative options to detention. Our published policy is clear that alternatives to detention should be used wherever possible. As I indicated on Report of the

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Immigration Bill, we are considering the overall issues of the detention estate more broadly and are examining alternatives as part of that ongoing work. Members referred to the family removals process.

Catherine West rose—

James Brokenshire: I will make some progress, as I now have three minutes remaining.

On the specific complaints issues raised, our detention centre rules are designed to ensure that female detainees’ rights, dignity and privacy are upheld. Should we receive complaints that contractors are breaching those rules, I assure hon. Members that such cases will be investigated fully and firmly.

On the issue of female members of staff and the availability of care and support, nurses are available 24/7 in Yarl’s Wood but, as in the community, they will not always be female. Detainees have the right to request to be seen by a female doctor or nurse, which will be arranged wherever possible. Midwives from Bedford Hospital NHS Trust visit the centre once a week, and the frequency and length of attendance is determined by demand.

The hon. Member for Edmonton mentioned independent medical examinations. Detention centre rules require that a registered medical practitioner selected by or on behalf of a detainee is given reasonable facilities for examining detainees. IRC suppliers rightly take requests very seriously and seek to accommodate them in accordance with the rules, but I am aware that some groups have made representations and expressed concerns. We are examining those closely and considering this issue carefully. I assure the hon. Lady that I recognise that issue, and we are examining how best to address it.

The Home Office will be revising the template form that IRC doctors are required to use when completing rule 35 reports, in order to make it clearer what information the Home Office requires of doctors when they complete such reports. We have consulted on the proposed changes with the relevant stakeholders. The intention is to make the forms easier for doctors to use, thereby improving the content of rule 35 reports. That is an important aspect, in order to ensure we act on those reports and consider them appropriately.

On the CQC report, an action plan is very much in place, and I have had discussions with NHS England about that. It is being worked through, and we take these issues very seriously.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Edmonton for the constructive discussion today. I confirm the importance we attach to this issue and, if I may, I will seek to write to her on the other issues that time has unfortunately prevented me from addressing.

5.39 pm

Motion lapsed, and sitting adjourned without Question put (Standing Order No. 10(14)).