Residents have been reassured that local NHS services won't be affected by 500 asylum seekers on a barge at Portland Port.

NHS Dorset has reassured people living in Weymouth and Portland that their NHS services will remain the same following the arrival of the Bibby Stockholm in Portland Port last week.

The barge has an onboard medical room which will operate from 9am to 5pm, five days a week.

The appointments will operate on a first come-first served basis with around 24 appointment slots available each day.

A spokesperson for NHS Dorset said: "We have heard your concerns about the impact on local health services and would like to reassure you that the arrangements we have in place will mean your access to NHS care will not change.

"The Home Office has provided additional funding which we have used to commission a team from Bournemouth that has previous experience working with asylum seekers.

"The medical facility on the barge will be staffed five days a week to provide a GP-led service with which the asylum seekers will register, this means they will not register with a local practice.

"This team will provide care which will be available to residents of the Bibby Stockholm either on the barge itself between the hours of 9.00 am - 5.00 pm, or remotely (including outside of these hours)."

Access to translation services is in place and has been shared with local services so that asylum seekers can be redirected back to the medical facility on the barge should they need help.

Dorset Echo: A medical room aboard the Bibby Stockholm bargeA medical room aboard the Bibby Stockholm barge (Image: PA)

The medical provision will include a qualified senior healthcare professional, likely to be an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) or a paramedic who will be aboard the barge four or five days a week between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

A GP will be available on the site one day a week between 9am and 5.00 pm between 9am and 5pm. 

The asylum seekers will also have access to remote consultations from a GP when onsite care is unavailable or needs additional support.

The GP service will be provided by South Coast Medical, a GP based in Poole which has had experience with the healthcare needs of asylum seekers living in Bournemouth.

A spokesperson for NHS Dorset added: "We are currently going through a tendering process to have pharmacy items delivered to the barge when required.

"Those living onboard Bibby Stockholm experiencing oral pain can seek assistance with the appointed health care provider. If urgent dental treatment is required, this will be accessed via the non-emergency 111 number."

Further details about Bibby Stockholm can be found via the Home Office website.