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To think if you don't pay into the NHS system you can't expect to be treated for free?

65 replies

oljam · 12/12/2007 22:30

I have a neighbour who's daughter in law has just given birth in a London hospital. The thing is my neighbour married a Serb when she was in her 20's (60 odd now) has never worked in the UK and has never paid NHS contributions or tax. She doesn't even live there now, and is constantly slagging off the UK.

She has a 30 year old son, who holds a British passport, however he has spent all his life in Serbia and has never worked in the UK, his wife is Serbian and does not hold a British passport. About 7 weeks before the baby was due they travelled to the UK because they wanted the baby to born there. The first hospital they went to in Kingston upon Thames I think, told them that because she didn't have a British passport they would have to pay £5,000 for the privilege of giving birth in a UK hospital. So they went to another hospital, and I believe forgot to mention her passport status. They've recently had their baby and they're about to scoot off back to Serbia just after Christmas, so no chance of getting any money off them.

Now I also live abroad and pay the country I live in for my medical treatment, I don't expect it to be any different. My neighbour was so indignant that her son had been expected to pay, but I ask why not, neither he nor his mother have contributed anything financially to our NHS system why should he expect it all for nothing? But then when I say this to her, that just gets her into a racist rant about immigrants.

I think what has pissed me off is this woman takes every opportunity to slag off the UK, the health service etc, having never really experienced it, but it's fine to deliver her grandchild and then for her son to bugger off back to Serbia before being hit with any bills.

So am I being unreasonable?

OP posts:
DeePandcrisPandeven · 12/12/2007 22:59

ok. After reading that I am even less convinced by the veracity of the detail/motivation here. Both doctors, fly to London for no apparent reason, a very long trip, pay for a flat prior to birth and to recuperate, fly back. And we aren't sure why, but it's a good chance to have a rant at someone foreign who is "ripping the country off".

oljam · 12/12/2007 23:02

No I'm not going to report them, I'm just letting off steam, it's late at night and there's no one at home to talk to.

It's just that I had to listen to this woman (my neighbour) going on all afternoon about how crap the UK was, how schools are rubbish, how the health system is rubbish etc, 5 minutes after telling me all about her son and DIL. Apparently the hospital was fantastic and the baby is doing well, good old NHS.

OP posts:
mrsruffallo · 12/12/2007 23:03

I wasn't ranting! I am simply describing a problem that is very real and does exist, and which I have experienced in 15 years working for the NHS.

DeePandcrisPandeven · 12/12/2007 23:04

mrsruffalo - I'm unsure what you mean by 'patient transport' in the form of an ambulance. This doesn't operate up here (DErbyshire) - we have a system of hospital volunteer drivers who get paid a mileage basis for patients who have mobility issues but no medical issues with car travel. Mainly the elderly.

Cashncarry · 12/12/2007 23:05

God - I hate this type of anecdote "my neighbour's wife's friend's dog's mother-in-law" is abusing the system because they're foreigers who came into the country just to rip us of blah blah bloody blah

I'm sure your story is quite correct and there are people who abuse the system, British (shock, horror) and foreign. The problem with the NHS and the Welfare State in general runs far deeper than the odd NHS tourist.

But by all means, blame all the country's problems on foreigners if you so wish...

VVVExcitedAboutChristmasQV · 12/12/2007 23:08

Oh no, I dont blame the foreigners for the downfall of the NHS. I blame the smokers

Last I heard, our local maternity services were owed £300,000 in maternity care fees from non-uk residents. That'd buy quite a few new, fully functioning CTG monitors that they are sorely lacking.

mrsruffallo · 12/12/2007 23:12

It is common practice in all NHS hospitals that I have worked in but they have all been in London so maybe things operate differently.

DeePandcrisPandeven · 12/12/2007 23:13

no, the NHS isn't crumbling due to 'health tourists', but neither would that money be spent on the CTGs either.

which country are you in oljam??

oljam · 12/12/2007 23:13

They flew to London to have their baby, that was their reason pure and simple. I'm certainly not having a rant at someone foreign ripping the country off, well maybe I am to a certain extent, they're not UK residents, they have no family there (all live abroad), they're not job hunting, they came for one reason, arrived in the middle of October will leave second week of January. If they lived in the UK, were trying to make a life there, then in my opinion it would be different, I personally do believe they are as someone else called them NHS Tourists.

I can't really have a go at a foreigner taking advantage of a medical system as I'd be a bit of a hypocrite considering I live in another country and use their medical services, however I still pay NI contributions and tax in the UK. I also pay for medical treatment in my country of residence. But that's my point, I pay for my treatment here, I don't expect it for free, I don't go back to the UK if I need treatment.

OP posts:
FairyMum · 12/12/2007 23:13

I blame the SERBIAN smokers.

mrsruffallo · 12/12/2007 23:16

Of course there are many factors that have contributing to the running down of the NHS - Thatcher's Tory government being the worst offender.
But it is still a problem-one of many but still a problem!

VVVExcitedAboutChristmasQV · 12/12/2007 23:17

Well, no, it wouldnt be spent on CTG's because a) that's wishful thinking on my part b) I know it would go on debts the trust has incurred over the last 15 years c) they are looking at closing maternity services altogether (along with A & E).

It's a shite, shite situation all round.

Anyway, my issue is with non-payers - whoever they are, wherever they are from, and whoever they owe.

FairyMum · 12/12/2007 23:19

There are lots of Brits who don't contribute to the NHS too. And there are lots of non-Brits who do contribute (like myself I might add).

VVVExcitedAboutChristmasQV · 12/12/2007 23:21

Oh I agree FM. My nan was one. She was, at first, a SAHM, and even after her DD's married and moved on she didnt work. She never paid NI in her life. Yet she was the first to criticise the NHS.

francagoestohollywood · 12/12/2007 23:23

the running down of the nhs (and several other countries public health service) is an ageing population and the fact that many illnesses are now (thankfully) curable....

francagoestohollywood · 12/12/2007 23:24

what are ctg monitors?

VVVExcitedAboutChristmasQV · 12/12/2007 23:24

Well, not so much curable as they are maintainable. Which is the problem.

francagoestohollywood · 12/12/2007 23:25

yes, def

VVVExcitedAboutChristmasQV · 12/12/2007 23:27

Cardiotocograph. Monitors baby's heartbeat (and contractions).

paulaplumpbottom · 12/12/2007 23:27

I haven't read all the post but I have nevre, not one time, been asked for my passport. I don't hold a British passport

DeePandcrisPandeven · 12/12/2007 23:27

am also a bit curious about the immigration status of this couple. She doesn't have a passport, or a right of abode, and entered the country approx 30 weeks pregnant. As I am reading it, she doesn't have any entry right, unless seeking asylum, or on a visa for a particular purpose ( I don't think they give them out with "to give birth" stamped on it.).
And he has a passport, but probably not a right of abode.......

just lots of things don't add up, and perhaps your neighbour isn't telling the entire truth. is this poss??

and why am I exercising grey matter on this at all????

francagoestohollywood · 12/12/2007 23:30

ah the toco ! (didn't even see one whe gave birth to dd... here and without being asked for my passport. we pay our taxes here though)

VVVExcitedAboutChristmasQV · 12/12/2007 23:31

SHe didnt have a British passport pan, she'd be classed as a tourist, visiting family, no?

welliemum · 12/12/2007 23:35

Am very against the idea of health tourism, but but but.

If I lived in a country where I knew I was likely to have an overmedicalised birth, be separated from my baby, forced to feed on a 4 hour routine, etc etc etc..... I suspect I'd move heaven and earth to go elsewhere so that I could do things the way I believe is right for me. The stakes are so high when it comes to childbirth.

If that's the case for couple in the OP, I don't agree with what they've done, but I don't blame them either.

NadineHumbug · 12/12/2007 23:35

you are not being unreasonable.

My sister is a Nursing Manager at a Manchester hospital the conversation I had with her the other day was most depressing. Ward closures, no staff, they needed 6 beds for cancer patients but they didn't have them or the staff to look after them so they were turned away. No money you see, maybe this is one of the reasons why?

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