Over 900 Migrants Denied Treatment Due to UK Hospital Fees

United Kingdom
#immigration #healthcare

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has been forced to turn away hundreds of migrants because of upfront costs for necessary medical care. The government has been attempting to resolve the health care issues, including the recent visa fee hikes.

The Observer's analysis of data provides light on the gravity of the problem. 3,545 people in 68 NHS trusts in England have been told they must pay advance fees totalling 7.1 million GBP since January 2021, which is astonishing. Surprisingly, among these individuals, 905 patients from 58 trusts chose to stop all treatment.

Inhumane Treatment by the Healthcare Sector

This circumstance brings to light the intricacy of the NHS's policy of charging certain migrants upfront fees. The policy was put into place in October 2017 to protect foreign nationals who were considered ineligible for free healthcare, but it hasn't always been applied correctly. Tragically, there have been occasions where people were unjustly denied care, which had terrible results.

Dr Laura-Jane Smith, a consultant respiratory physician and part of the Medact advocacy group, described a patient who was given an urgent lung cancer diagnosis in a devastating way. Due to the patient being informed that payment for the procedure must be made in advance, the required follow-up care was not received. 

This exemplifies the emotionally upsetting feeling of being abandoned by the healthcare system in the face of a diagnosis that will change your life.

An image of ambulances in the UK - Migrants Denied Treatment Due to UK Hospital Fees

The results have sometimes been much worse. The tragic tale of Elfreda Spencer is one such instance. She passed suddenly after a year of not receiving chemotherapy, which allowed her disease to worsen and reach a final stage. 

Simba Mujakachi's case adds still another level of suffering. As a result of upfront billing regulations, he was denied treatment for a blood-clotting issue, and he later had a stroke. He has since joined the activist organisation Migrants Organise.

These incidents highlight the pervasive problems with the healthcare system. It draws attention to the difficulty of ensuring that everyone has access to care, regardless of their financial situation or immigration status. 

The experiences of people like Oke serve to highlight this issue. Oke had an uncommon disease, but getting treatment was difficult due to red tape. His event serves as a sobering reminder of the difficulties that migrants frequently face when they seek medical care.

These occurrences of refusal and delay serve as a sobering reminder that more work needs to be done in a world that strives for inclusivity and equitable access to healthcare. 

The Department of Health and Social Care claims that only non-urgent cases that can safely happen after the patient departs the UK require advance payment. But it's obvious that the difficulties faced by migrant patients go well beyond the goals of policy and may have grave repercussions for people's lives.


What is the stance of healthcare advocacy groups on this issue?

The chief of services at Doctors of the World UK, Amardeep Kamboz, emphasises that eligibility for healthcare should be determined by need rather than ability to pay or immigration status. All citizens should receive care, and healthcare should be provided on an equal basis.

How does the Department of Health and Social Care respond to the issue?

Only non-urgent instances that can safely happen after the patient departs the UK, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, require advance payment. It recognises that urgent or immediately necessary care should never be postponed or withdrawn due to financial reasons.


To access the free information about visas and immigration, simply navigate to the relevant section on our website. You'll find a wide range of articles, guides, and resources to help you understand various visa processes, immigration requirements, and related topics.
Yes, VisaLobby strives to cover visa and immigration information for a wide range of countries across the globe. While we aim to provide comprehensive coverage, please note that the depth and breadth of information may vary for different countries.
Registering as a user on VisaLobby is easy. Simply click on the "Sign up" button on the top right corner of the website and fill in the required information. Once registered, you'll have access to full features on our website.
If you have any further questions, concerns, or feedback, you can reach out to us through the "Help" page on our website. We value user input and are always ready to assist you with any inquiries you may have.
If you need technical assistance or have inquiries about VisaLobby, you can reach our customer support team through the "Help" page on our website. Provide a detailed description of your issue or question, and our team will promptly assist you. We strive to provide excellent customer support and ensure that your experience on VisaLobby is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Yes, you can leave comments on the blog articles without registering. We encourage active participation and discussion among our users, so feel free to share your thoughts, ask questions, or provide feedback in the comments section.
After registering as a user, you can log in to your account and navigate to the blog section. There, you'll find an option to submit your article for review. Our team will review the content, ensuring it aligns with our guidelines and it will be published on the blog.
No, publishing articles on our blog is completely free for registered users. We believe in providing a platform for individuals to share their experiences, knowledge, and insights related to visas and immigration.
Yes, we strive to keep our visa and immigration information up-to-date. Our team regularly monitors and researches changes in visa policies, immigration regulations, and related topics to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and current.
Absolutely! We encourage users to share their personal visa and immigration experiences on VisaLobby. By doing so, you can provide valuable insights, tips, and support to others who may be going through similar situations.
Absolutely! We encourage users to share blog articles or other visa-related information from VisaLobby on social media platforms. By sharing valuable content, you can help spread awareness and assist others who may benefit from the information.
While we encourage users to freely express their opinions and experiences, there are certain guidelines in place to maintain the integrity and quality of the content published on the blog. Content that is offensive, discriminatory, or violates our community guidelines may not be approved for publication.
Yes, you can subscribe to our newsletter or opt-in for email notifications to receive updates on new blog articles, visa-related information, and other relevant updates from VisaLobby. Simply provide your email address and select the subscription option that suits your preferences.
If you come across inappropriate content or behaviour on VisaLobby, we encourage you to report it to our moderation team. Look for the "Report" option associated with the content or user, provide a brief explanation of the issue, and our team will review and take appropriate action.