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NHS maternity charges challenged


Maternity Action, challenge, government policy, NHS charges, destitute pregnant women, vulnerable migrant women, fundraising, crowdjusticetheir children, Stop charging destitute migrant women and their children for NHS care.

The charity Maternity Action has 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 charity also challenges the charging of other groups of migrant women, including those who have suffered sex-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.

Maternity Action is demanding 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.

This 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.

And in April 2019, the British Medical Association called for a full and independent review of the impact of charging.

Maternity Action has also undertaken research into the impacts of maternity charging.

In 2018, What Price Safe Motherhood? documented the harsh impact of charging on vulnerable women.

In September 2019, Maternity Action released Duty of Care, which explored the impact of charging on midwives’ professional practice and found that midwives were concerned about the negative health impacts on vulnerable women.

Rosalind Bragg, Director of Maternity Action, said: “Our research with women affected by maternity charging has found that many of these women are in desperate situations, struggling to afford food and accommodation.

“They cannot pay £7,000 or more for their maternity care and are avoiding essential medical care in an attempt to save money.

“We have repeatedly asked the government to undertake a review of the impact of maternity charging on vulnerable migrant women but they have not done so.

“These women are at high risk of serious health problems during pregnancy, birth and postnatally.

“We should be taking extra steps to ensure they receive the care they need, rather than frightening them away from maternity services.

“We know from our advice service that the exemptions intended to cover vulnerable women are not working.

“We regularly hear from women who are survivors of FGM, domestic and sexual violence who are facing maternity charges.”

If you would like to help, Maternity Action is fundraising for this via CrowdJustice: click here to donate. Thanks.

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