AN ASYLUM seeker told health bosses how he received a warm welcome when he was at his most vulnerable when he moved to Bolton.

He said a variety of services were all keen to lend a hand.

Markus, not his real name, is a Cameroon national and his first language is French. He moved to Bolton from Liverpool and is living with three long-term health conditions.

His story was told to Bolton health bosses at a meeting last week.

Markus said: “I needed care as soon as I arrived in Bolton. Being new to the town, I was unsure where to get any information on how to register with a GP.”

He received help from the charity Brass, which supports refugees and asylum seekers in Bolton and was able to register with a GP.

Markus lives with bipolar disorder, hypothyroidism and angina.

He was impressed with his GP saying: “They instantly realised I needed immediate registration and a treatment plan due to my long term health conditions. I was assessed the same day and they ensured I had the necessary prescriptions set up.”

The language barrier was a concern for Markus but he revealed the surgery used Language Line, a translator service, so they could talk.

He said: “ Due to this I was able to tell them straight away how my health conditions were beginning to deteriorate and how I was managing this.

“They took, and still take, the time to listen to me when I speak which is very important to me.”

Markus was referred to the hospital for further help with his conditions. He said: “Again my treatment has been perfect. The psychiatrist from the mental health team referred me to a community psychiatric nurse, who was very supportive and respectful at all times.

“When I had dark thoughts and I felt suicidal, I could call her and she would come and see me to talk to me.

“She didn’t speak French but I told her when I first met her, that if she speaks slowly I will be able to understand her better; and she always did. That meant a lot because it meant she had listened to me.”

Markus said the care he received made him feel that he mattered and was encouraged by his community psychiatric nurse to meet new people in the town.

He said: “ I was nervous at first, with being new to the town but I knew I needed to help myself.”

Markus got further help from Mental Health Independent Support Team (MHIST) and Building a New Direction (BAND) to access groups and socialise. He said: “I go regularly and really enjoy it.”