The UK Border Agency works closely with health professionals to facilitate the removal of patients who are not entitled to remain in the country. Where appropriate, special arrangements are made for the removal of persons undergoing treatment, including the provision of medical escorts. The Government take a robust stance on abuse of NHS services.
I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. My local hospital, Russells Hall, was forced to admit a Pakistani national who was not eligible for NHS treatment. He was given a discharge when he was medically fit to leave the hospital. That was as long ago as August last year, yet since then the hospital has had to negotiate with the border agency and Pakistan International Airlines for a date for his release, and that has cost £100,000-plus. Can my hon. Friend assure me that he will put the necessary pressure on the border agency to enable this individual to be released without further delay?
My hon. Friend will appreciate that I cannot go into too much detail on the Floor of the House about an individual case. I am, however, happy to be able to reassure her that since she brought this case to my personal attention, an airline has now been found to carry the individual concerned. We are sorting out care and reception arrangements in order to ensure that the removal goes smoothly, and I understand that he will be removed in the near future.