Foreign health tourists leave NHS with £150m of unpaid bills which could pay for 6,000 nurses

Healthy News
September 1, 2019

FOREIGN health tourists have left the NHS with more than £150million of unpaid bills.

Two London hospitals are each owed £28million with one still chasing a £500,000 bill from a Nigerian mum who gave birth to quadruplets in 2016.

quadruplet birth
Nigerian mum Priscilla, pictured, gave birth to quadruplets in November 2016
BBC Handout
priscilla nigeria nhs
Only two of Priscilla’s four babies survived the premature birth
BBC Handout

The huge total is enough to pay for 5,500 junior doctors, a staggering 22,000 heart bypasses and 6,000 extra nurses.

Some 23 NHS hospitals across the UK are still owed more than £1million from foreign patients and 91 trusts have outstanding bills totalling £149.5million.

King’s College Hospital in Denmark Hill, South London, is owed £28.3million while Barts Health Trust in East London still needs to be paid £27.8million.


However, according to the Daily Mail, hospital staff are reluctant to chase patients for payments after medical groups suggested to decision to charge them is “racist”.

Tory MP Philip Davies told the paper: “It is the National Health Service, not an international health service and it is essential these charges are made for overseas visitors.”

Only people who have lived in the UK for at least six months and are paying taxes are supposed to be entitled to free NHS care.

It is the National Health Service, not an international health service and it is essential these charges are made for overseas visitors

Philip Davies

And in 2017, the Department of Health issued new guidance which told staff to highlight overseas patients and ask them for their passports and proof of utility bills.

They were told to give them invoices before receiving treatment.

However, one group known as Docs Not Cops, claim cancer sufferers have been “wrongly denied NHS treatment because they have been perceived to be foreign”.

The Mail reports they are discouraging staff from handing out bills to overseas patients and to question their colleagues if they ask for passports.


Three years ago, Nigerian mum Priscilla, then 43, gave birth to quadruplets in thee UK but tragically lost two of them.

She cost the NHS £500,000 because she had no way of paying after she went into labour as she flew home via Heathrow after being turned away by the US.

Medics at St Mary’s Hospital in West London battled to save the babies, who were born at 24 weeks.

One died instantly and the other three treated for at least ten weeks in a neonatal ICU at £2,000 each per day.

Philip Hollobone, the Tory MP for Kettering, said: “Well-paid NHS bosses who fail to charge visitors for using our health service should have action taken against them.



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“That £150million could go a very long way in paying for thousands more doctors, nurses and badly needed healthcare.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman told the paper: “Every taxpayer supports the health service and so it is only right overseas visitors contribute towards their treatment costs.

“All NHS trusts must charge overseas visitors for the care they receive, unless an exemption applies, and to rigorously pursue any outstanding bills.

“We’ve made good progress in the last few years, with £1.3billion recovered.”

The babies were born at just 24-weeks, and one died instantly and another days later

PA:Press Association

King’s College Hospital in Denmark Hill, South London, is owed £28.3million[/caption]

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