Homeless, destitute and relying on friends for food and shelter, Client P required back surgery. He had been refused asylum but had submitted further evidence to the HO meaning he had a pending claim. A Home Office letter dated August 2017 confirmed they had received his further submission and that the client would be notified of their decision in due course.
On that basis, he was entitled to free NHS care and his operation was scheduled by the hospital and a date sent to the client. However, in early Feb 18 he received a ‘Charging letter’ from the hospital stating
“We have been notified by the Home Office that you are here in the UK with no Valid Leave to Remain. This means that you are not entitled to Free NHS care in the UK [The Consultant] has said this is not an urgent procedure and we have had to cancel your procedure… The cost for this procedure is £2651.00 and will need to be paid prior to your surgery. We also will have to raise invoices for your treatment that you have had here over the last six years and we will be sending them to you in the future.”
RMC contacted the hospital Overseas Visitor Department and quoted from the guidance that:
“Asylum seekers (those applying for asylum, humanitarian protection or temporary protection) whose claims, including appeals, have not yet been determined), ….’ are exempt from health charges. In their response to our email, the hospital replied “I have spoken to my manager and she deems him vulnerable … …so we will update our systems here. I will write to (the client)’
The client was then able to have the operation without charge.