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Migrant face £6,000 birth bill under 'health tourism' law

Updated: December 14, 2019 Published: 2016-02-04

( - Migrant women face £6,000 birth bill under 'health tourism' laws

Pregnant women living in the UK without papers are having to make tough decisions on access to maternity services, which could jeopardize their own lives and those of their unborn children because of the overwhelming charges imposed by the NHS, for example charities.
Activists say that vulnerable women who are already struggling to support themselves are being charged up to £ 6,000 for a normal delivery, with emergency procedures such as Caesarean adding about £ 3,000 due to the payment of 150 % introduced to prevent "health tourism" from outside the EU.
GP health Shorthall Clare, who runs a weekly clinic for women and young children excluded healthcare across London, he said the charges are putting women in impossible situations.
Most people who come to our clinic are living below the poverty line, "he said." Women [pregnant] make their own calculations. They say, "maybe I'll just see the midwife, once" or "may have a home birth.
Shortall, Médecins du Monde, said that doctors are required to report unpaid bills to the Ministry of Interior. "I do not have to act as border guards," he said. "That's not the way it works that medicine
The stories of two women struggling to survive in London highlight how devastating it can be these charges.
Ngozi, originally from Nigeria, had been in the UK for three years when she gave birth to her second child. Four months after the birth, which he described as traumatic, she received a bill for £ 4,134.50.
The 33-year-old is entitled to remain in the UK for two and a half years in the first stage of a plan of settlement of the family of 10 years, but is not entitled to benefits. She is now paying £ 20.50 a month out of the £ 120 received from the fathers of their children.
"I did not know what to do," he said. "I kept sending letters red. I was threatened with court and bailiffs if not pay the money."
Rose, a 36-year-old fled an abusive relationship in Uganda, is another who was charged by the ANC. She said she had arrived in the UK, "stressed, worried and sick" when she was 27 weeks pregnant.
"It was not a doctor at first because I was told that if I did not have enough money on me was not going to get any help," he said. But when he began to suffer abdominal pains she was persuaded to go see doctors in the world, providing support to migrants afraid to use the NHS.
The group encouraged to go for a prenatal checkup in Newham nearby hospital, where he was asked about £ 329. "They told me I had to pay for services, they said they could do nothing for me if I had no money ", said.
Confused and frightened, Rose gave birth to her daughter two weeks after the bill hanging over his head.
She was finally able to get the position for reasons given asylum request, but that the claim has already been rejected and that she and her daughter are waiting for a second hearing - while sharing a one bedroom apartment with another family in Plaistow, east London and survive on handouts from friends and food banks.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said that no woman should be denied treatment for maternity care. "Foreign visitors who are not entitled to free NHS health will be charged for the services, but this should not delay the treatment and services would never refuse to pregnant women.
"Although they should be informed if the charges are applied to the treatment, their caregivers should be especially careful to inform pregnant patients will not be retained more maternity care," added the spokesman.
But motherhood Action say it is "likely to be of little comfort to women who are aware that a debt to the NHS can block other immigration applications."
The organization believes that charging policies have become more aggressive since the Immigration Act was introduced in 2014.
loading women
Responsibility for payment of charges maternity often falls exclusively on women with young dependents, who have traveled either to the UK alone have left a violent relationship or have fallen pregnant as a result of trafficking, said Abi Brunswick Project 17, which helps families in poverty and Ngozi.
Ngozi lives in Catford in Southeast London, where she shares a bed with her two young children. Another family occupies the other room on the floor with two bedrooms.
Last year she was again pregnant with twins, but chose to have an abortion. "I just could not do it," he said. "Maybe it would cost £ 8,000 this time. I was so scared.

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