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Friday 21st October 2016

Refused refugees denied care

15th November 2006

The NHS is failing to provide care for pregnant women who have been refused asylum, say campaigners.

The UK Refugee Council said hospitals were also denying treatment for refused asylum seekers with cancer and AIDS. These treatments are routinely provided in other European countries in similar circumstances.

Speaking at the ‘Safe from Harm’ conference, the council said the NHS policy to charge refused asylum seekers as overseas visitors was having a devastating effect.

It argued the changes made in 2004 as an attempt to end ‘health tourism’ had no evidence base. Under the new rules, refused asylum seekers are only allowed to attend emergency departments for treatment that is ‘immediately necessary’ but must pay for anything deemed 'urgent' by clinical staff.

Pregnant women have been particularly affected, despite being treated as necessary and therefore free, women are frightened of ‘overseas visitors managers,’ brought in by trusts because clinical staff refused to turn patients away.

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