It is once again in the news that foreigners are travelling to the UK with the sole intention of using and abusing our NHS – costing us billions every year. One senior doctor has been quoted as calling this a ‘massive and escalating problem.
The cash strapped NHS is fast becoming the world’s maternity wing as huge number of expectant mothers arrive just to give birth.
These women are arriving specifically to give birth – breaking airline safety guidance not to fly after 28 weeks, and are then arguing that they should not be charged because it (labour/childirth) is classed as emergency care.
In some cases this may lead to some labouring women being turned away from their planned place of birth due to lack of spaces on the ward.
Professor Thomas, consultant surgeon at The Royal Marsden hospital in London warned that the NHS may be ‘addled with too many loopholes’ to address the problem and could have ‘reached the point of no return’.
Last month Cameron made another empty promise to the electorate – this time to crack-down on health tourism, although he was unable to put a figure on the extent of the abuse, and he cited old, incorrect and misleading statistics showing it could be up to £20million a year. The true figure is now shown to be much higher – as Cameron will have well known.
One junior hospital doctor working close to Heathrow airport has said that: “Every single week, I see people who have been flown in from all over the world with a variety of extremely serious health problems
“Many of these people had to be wheelchaired on to the plane because they were too unwell to walk on board.
“This abuse is costing the NHS (and therefore the British taxpayer) not millions but billions of pounds every year.
“Often the patient refuses to pay, claiming that childbirth qualifies as emergency care and therefore cannot be refused to anyone.”