Foreign patient with £170,000 NHS debt faces deportation after years of treatment with the East and North Herts NHS Trust

The East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage, has provided treatment

The East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage, has provided treatment since 2008 for a patient who is now facing deportation. - Credit: Archant

A foreign patient who owes the NHS £170,000 for renal dialysis treatment after ignoring invoices for years is set to be deported.

The unnamed patient – who is not eligible for free NHS care – has been receiving kidney dialysis three times a week from the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage, since 2008.

The NHS trust sends regular invoices, which have remained unpaid, but it is still obliged to provide the treatment.

A spokesman for the NHS trust said: “Renal dialysis is a treatment that if withheld would result in a patient’s deterioration and consequent death.

“Under the Department of Health guidelines, renal dialysis is categorised as immediately necessary treatment and we cannot withhold it while waiting for payment.

“The cost for such treatments received by non-eligible patients is still invoiced and recovery of this debt is pursued.”

The spokesman added: “The Home Office separately is seeking the patient’s repatriation to their home country and we have been advised that deportation notices have been served.

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“In the meantime, we continue to provide their life-saving renal dialysis treatment, as well as seeking payment of the debts being incurred.”

Some people believe NHS rules are too lax compared with other Western countries, which ensure patients pay before they are treated. The Department of Health is currently looking at charging overseas patients to use A&E for the first time.

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