New figures have established the magnitude of financial drain on the NHS; Foreigners, have milked the NHS by availing treatments in UK hospitals worth millions of pounds, for which they have not paid for. The ones who have played truant are mostly couples availing IVF treatment and have vanished without paying a dime for it.
The report revealed that nearly 106 hospitals have enabled £27 million worth of treatment, last year alone, to patients who were ineligible to receive the NHS care. Nearly £10 million has not been repaid to the NHS. While the NHS is entitled to accord free treatment to citizens, foreigners need to pay for the treatments.
Now, cash strapped NHS has begun refusing treatments to many deserving couples in the country, even if they are eligible as per the rules.
Liverpool Women's Hospital has made public, its largest unpaid bill for a patient from abroad costing £3,507 for IVF and fertility drugs. Similarly Birmingham Women's Hospital has also opened up to a loss of £2,900 on a single unpaid bill for IVF, enabled to a woman from abroad. The modus operandi of these couples, who availed the NHS' treatments, still remains a mystery. It is normally a General Practitioner who refers the case to NHS and is aware if the treatment would be sponsored by the NHS.
Shadow Health Secretary Mr Lansley said: "Of course the NHS is duty bound to provide emergency care, but how can things like IVF treatment qualify as an emergency?"
Katharine Murphy of the Patients' Association, said: "One wonders how these people could have slipped through the system to obtain IVF on the NHS. It is not fair on couples here. In this country, couples have to wait two years simply to get on the list for treatment. People have to remortgage their homes and marriages break-up under the strain of trying to get IVF on the NHS, yet people who are not entitled to have it for free have done so."
A spokeswoman for Birmingham Women's Hospital said "This is not the way we normally deal with our fee-paying patients, who should clear their account before the treatment takes place. However sometimes clinical necessities take priority and patients will need to have treatment before they have paid for it."