17 Dec Government accepts that babies should not have been charged for life-saving treatment
Last year two babies were born prematurely, and had to spend the first few months of their lives in intensive care. They were left with significant ongoing health problems for which they require regular treatment.
Almost a year later their parents, who have leave to remain in the UK, began to receive invoices from the hospitals that had treated their babies, amounting to almost £100,000. Full payment was demanded within 14 days from the parents, who work in very low paid jobs. They were unable to do so, and sought advice from a charity, that referred them to us.
The law requires parents who have limited leave to remain in the UK to apply for leave to remain for their babies, but these parents were unaware of that. Their focus was on being there for the babies who were in Neo-natal intensive care, whilst trying not to lose their jobs.
The rules on charging migrants for NHS treatment state that after 3 months babies are charged, so at that point (although the parents were unaware) the babies started to accumulate debts.
We helped the family challenge that decision by way of judicial review, and permission was granted for the case to proceed to a final hearing, which was due to take place in November. Shortly before the hearing the government agreed to wipe out the debts so that they would not have any practical impact.