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Immigration: Medical Treatment

Volume 700: debated on Monday 31 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What lessons they have drawn from the case of Ama Sumani in Ghana; and whether they would allow an asylum-seeker to remain temporarily in this country for dialysis treatment, provided that sufficient funds were available for such treatment.[HL2766]

Common humanity means we all feel sympathy when dealing with individuals who face challenging medical and personal circumstances, but this in itself is not enough to entitle someone to a different process or consideration. Cases such as Ms Sumani's will continue to be assessed and reviewed by independent judicial processes on an individual basis and in accordance with existing legislation and guidance.

Individuals who make formal applications for asylum in the United Kingdom are eligible for free NHS treatment while their applications, including any appeals, are being considered. Unsuccessful applicants who have exhausted their appeal rights are expected to leave the country as soon as possible and may be charged for any new course of medical treatment. Nevertheless, immediately necessary treatment would never be withheld or delayed, regardless of chargeability or ability to pay. This would be a matter for medical decision on a case-by-case basis.