NHS pilot scheme extended:
A pilot scheme requiring patients at twenty NHS hospitals to show their passports and utility bills to prove they are eligible for treatment has been launched by the Home Office and NHS Improvement to combat ‘health tourism’, it was revealed in the Independent on 17 January 2017.
Case study: ‘I was billed the day my baby died’
Cathy, (not her real name), says she was a regular visitor to the UK from Nigeria for several years. She became pregnant with her partner, who lived here, in 2012, but lost contact with him.
She visited a London hospital four weeks into her pregnancy but, after being told about charges for migrants, decided not to continue her healthcare there.
After suffering pain 20 weeks into her pregnancy, she attended a “Doctors of the World” clinic in east London. They referred her to another London hospital where she was given medication and charges were not discussed. She also made contact with a GP, who several weeks later referred her to hospital as an emergency case following complications in her pregnancy. She was taken to the original hospital and was treated as an emergency. Her baby was born prematurely at 25 weeks, and died soon after. The same day she was told she would be charged.
She received a bill for £1,500, which the hospital pursued via regular telephone calls until October last year. She has paid back £100, largely thanks to support from her church.
Now she is applying for a visa, but because of her undocumented status cannot do regular work or receive benefits.
NHS data passed to Home Office
The NHS handed over the personal data of thousands of patients to the Home Office under a data-sharing agreement which enabled Immigration Enforcement to trace nearly 6,000 undocumented migrants in the first eleven months of 2016. See the full story here.
Big Brother is watching you
After campaigners threaten to sue G4S over privacy concerns over 60 G4S asylum housing and welfare officers setting their body-worn cameras to ‘constant recording mode’, and the information and surveillance commissioners both expressing concerns, the company backs down, saying the cameras will record only when wearers feel threatened. (Guardian, 25 January 2017)