Coronavirus – Call for suspension on NHS charges

4 April 2020 RAPAR: Yesterday, Elvis Died

  • Without approaching the NHS, undocumented people with severe COVID19 symptoms reported as dying in their homes in the UK
  • Doctors of the World call for suspension of all NHS charges

Elvis (not his real name) died yesterday, RAPAR has been informed.  This followed  several days where it was reported that he displayed a range of increasingly severe COVID19 symptoms.  He didn’t have up to date papers that said he was allowed to live and work in Britain: he was what has come to be labelled as ‘undocumented’.  In these circumstances, he feared that if he sought help from the NHS he would be reported to the Authorities and charged thousands of pounds for treatment, so he did not seek that help.

Today, as we write, RAPAR has been advised that his wife is experiencing increasingly severe COVID19 symptoms, at home.  She says she cannot seek help from the NHS because she, too, is ‘undocumented’.   Elvis died a few days after Rey (not his real name either), also reported as having experienced increasingly severe COVID 19 symptoms before he died, and without seeking help from the NHS because of his status.

Susan Cueva is from the Kanlungan Filipino Consortium that supports vulnerable Filipino migrant people.  She says:  “We are aware that there are many undocumented workers in the UK who are in this situation. They have lost their jobs due to the lockdown and are ineligible for government support. They often live in crowded conditions with other undocumented workers and they are too scared to go to a doctor or hospital.”

Today, in partnership with RAPAR, the Consortium has followed up contact with several of the 60 MPs who are reported in both the Edinburgh News
and the Guardian as having written to the Home Secretary requesting that foreign nationals working in the NHS be granted indefinite leave to remain.  Writing directly to the MP’s and to other political figures who they know, the Kanlungan Filipino Consortium has asked for their support in extending this request to all undocumented and destitute people living in the UK and Ireland.  They ask the politicians to sign the Open Letter Petition, dating from 27th March, so that “all people, irrespective of status, are extended human rights and offered hope and solidarity during this extraordinary period in the history of humanity.”

And also today, the day after Elvis died, Doctors of the World have been at the forefront of launching an open letter to the Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care calling for the immediate suspension of NHS Charging Regulations.

For more information contact:
Kath Grant, RAPAR Press Officer, 07758386208/
Dr Rhetta Moran, RAPAR Chair of Trustees, 07776264646/