The Court of Appeal rejected the High Court’s approach, finding that refused asylum-seekers could not be lawfully resident in the UK. But they still found that the guidance was unlawful, because it did not make it clear enough that hospitals must consider providing treatment where a patient cannot return home and cannot pay for the treatment in advance.
Solicitor Adam Hundt of Pierce Glynn, a firm specialising in human rights cases commented:
“The Dept. of Health guidance said that hospitals should not provide treatment unless patients paid for it in advance, but this ignores the fact that many of these patients, like A, are destitute, and many cannot return home, so they are not treated until they require life-saving treatment.
In my experience, sadly, by that time it is often too late, and that treatment is usually far more expensive, so the current rules don’t make clinical, economic or humanitarian sense, and I am glad that the Court has recognised this.
I hope that the Dept of Health will now make it clear to hospitals that they must treat patients who cannot pay and cannot return home for the time being - and not just wait until they are at death’s door.”
Medact / Medecins Du Monde / Pierce Glynn Solicitors
(1) An anonymity order has been granted, and so the client can only be referred to as Mr A.