Yesterday (14th October) the charity Maternity Action launched a legal challenge to the Government’s policy of charging destitute migrant pregnant women £7,000 or more to access NHS maternity care.
The claim also challenges the charging of other groups of migrant women, including those who have suffered gender-based violence and the wider group of destitute migrant women and their children who are awaiting an outcome on their immigration applications from the Home Office.
The charity demands a full and independent review of NHS charging to assess its impact on all vulnerable groups, particularly in respect of migrant women who are pregnant or new mothers and those who have suffered gender-based violence, who are living in the UK.
EVAW supports this legal challenge and has provided a witness statement in support of the claim.
Maternity Action have launched a CrowdJustice Campaign to help fund their legal challenge.
Maternity Action’s legal action follows calls from health professional bodies to suspend NHS charging. In December 2018, the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published a joint statement calling for suspension of NHS charging. In March 2019, the Academy of Royal Colleges issued a statement calling for suspension pending a full and independent review. In April 2019, the British Medical Association called for a full and independent review of the impact of charging.