Tag Archives: bill

Bill should cover drunken sexual assault of emergency workers | Letters

As leading health bodies and members of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, we write insupport of Chris Bryant’s private member’s bill on assaults on emergency workers, and specifically his amendment to extend this bill to cover sexual assault. The bill will already make offences, including malicious wounding and grievous or actual bodily harm, aggravated when perpetrated against emergency workers. But it does not offer any additional protection against sexual assault. This is a discrepancy that cannot stand.

Research from the Institute of Alcohol Studies shows that between a third and a half of service people have experienced sexual harassment or abuse at the hands of intoxicated members of the public: over half (52%) of ambulance service workers reported that they had been the victim of intoxicated sexual harassment or assault, as did 41% of police staff, 35% of emergency department consultants and 34% of fire and rescue staff.

The evidence and shocking case studies from emergency workers across different professions make the case for including sexual assault in this bill. We cannot be in a situation where physically assaulting an emergency worker is recognised in law as being serious, but sexually assaulting them is not. We understand the government is resisting this amendment on the grounds of not wanting to create “two tiers of victims” of sexual assault. However, the bill does not give new or enhanced rights to emergency workers who are assaulted; instead, it offers protection to those people who – through their jobs serving our communities – are put at significantly greater risk of being sexually or physically assaulted. It recognises that these workers would not be in the position of being assaulted were it not for their jobs – so it is right that we make assaulting these workers an aggravating factor when cases are prosecuted. It will send a strong message to emergency workers that we stand by them, and to would-be perpetrators that these attacks will not be tolerated.

The bill, which will improve working conditions for frontline workers in emergency services, has been subject to a high degree of cross-party support, and we appreciate the support the government has shown. We now ask the government to reconsider its opposition to including sexual assault, and to support Mr Bryant’s amendment on Friday.
Prof Ian Gilmore Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance
Colin Shevills Director, Balance, the North East Alcohol Office
Katherine Brown Chief executive, Institute of Alcohol Studies
Dr Zul Mirza Royal College of Emergency Medicine
Dr Adrian Boyle Royal College of Emergency Medicine
Prof Jonathan Shepherd Cardiff University Violence Research Group
Dr Victoria Tzortziou Brown and Dr Jonathan Leach Joint honorary secretaries of Royal College of GPs council
Dr Liam Brennan President Royal College of Anaesthetists
Prof Dame Parveen Kumar BMA board of science chair
Dr Richard Piper Chief executive officer, Alcohol Research UK/Alcohol Concern
Prof Woody Caan Faculty of Public Health
Catherine Chiang Co-chair, Faculty of Public Health Alcohol Special Interest Group
Prof Matthew Cramp President, British Association for the Study of the Liver
Dr Kieran Moriarty British Society of Gastroenterology
Prof Frank Murray Consultant gastroenterologist, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin
Prof Roger Williams Director, Institute of Hepatology London
Deborah Jenkins Interim CEO, Blenheim CDP
Alison Douglas Chief executive, Alcohol Focus Scotland
Dr Eric Carlin Director, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems
Nigel Bongard and Terry Martin Trustees, Alcohelp
Prof Jared Torkington President, Welsh Association for Gastroenterology and Endoscopy
Dr Miles Allison Immediate past president, Welsh Association for Gastroenterology and Endoscopy
Dr Andrew Yeoman Consultant gastroenterologist/hepatologist, Royal Gwent Hospital
Prof Robin Touquet Emeritus professor of emergency medicine, Imperial College London and St Mary’s Hospital Paddington
Prof Eileen Kaner Professor of public health and primary care research, Newcastle University
Diane Goslar Patient representative, Royal College of Psychiatrists

The £6m package of measures designed to help the estimated 200,000 children in England living with alcohol-dependent parents, offering rapid access to support is £30 per child (New £6m fund and dedicated minister will help children of alcoholics, 23 April). I doubt much can and will be provided at that rate. How about the drinks industry cough up more of their profits to properly fund decent services?
Emma Tait
London

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Brexit bill needs ‘do no harm’ amendment to protect public health | Letter

We welcome the government’s recent reassurances that the public’s health will be protected as we leave the European Union. We do not doubt ministers’ sincerity, but they can only speak for this government, not the one after that and nor the one after that. They also offer a view of the future during a period of very significant uncertainty while the government’s Brexit position necessarily shifts and changes as we negotiate with the EU and other countries.

If the government is certain that the public’s health will not be damaged by Brexit then it should have no qualms in supporting the “do no harm” amendment to the EU (withdrawal) bill when it is voted on in the House of Lords on Monday. The amendment provides a clear legal safeguard. It puts beyond doubt that, as we leave the EU, the health of the public will continue to be of paramount importance to this and all future governments. It also means that we won’t roll back on the progress we’ve made in public health since we’ve been a member of the EU. It is this reassurance that the public needs.
Prof John Middleton President, Faculty of Public Health
Dr Chaand Nagpaul British Medical Association council chair
Chris Askew CEO, Diabetes UK
Jeremy Hughes CEO, Alzheimer’s Society
Lynda Thomas CEO, Macmillan
Paul Farmer CEO, Mind
Prof Jane Dacre President, Royal College of Physicians
Niall Dickson Co-Chair, Brexit Health Alliance
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard President, Royal College of General Practitioners
Alison Cox Director of Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK
Sheila Duffy CEO, ASH Scotland
Nicola Close CEO, Association of Directors of Public Health
Sian O’Shea Chairman, British Dietetic Association
Kath Dalmeny CEO, Sustain
Prof Carol Seymour President, Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Sharon White CEO, School and Public Health Nurses Association
Sarah Hughes Chief executive, Centre for Mental Health
Shirley Cramer CEO, Royal Society of Public Health
Gill Walton CEO, Royal College of Midwives
Prof Alan Boyd President, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine
Anne Godfrey CEO, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Nina Renshaw Secretary general, European Public Health Alliance
Prof Tamara Hervey Professor of Law, University of Sheffield
Jeremy Taylor CEO, National Voices
Dr Nigel Hewett Secretary to the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health
Judi Rhys CEO, British Liver Trust
Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones President, Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh
Professor Ash Soni President, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Dr Liam Brennan President, Royal College of Anaesthetists
Dr Asha Kasliwal President, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Mike Burdon President, Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Dr Nicola Strickland President, Royal College of Radiologists
Prof Russell Viner President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Paul Tuohy CEO, Cycling UK
Katherine Brown CEO, Institute of Alcohol Studies
Dr Kieran Moriarty Alcohol lead, British Society of Gastroenterology
Prof Hazel Inskip President, Society of Social Medicine
Prof David Galloway President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Dr Paul Jackson President, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine
Dr Richard Piper CEO, Alcohol Research UK/Alcohol Concern

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Brexit bill needs ‘do no harm’ amendment to protect public health | Letter

We welcome the government’s recent reassurances that the public’s health will be protected as we leave the European Union. We do not doubt ministers’ sincerity, but they can only speak for this government, not the one after that and nor the one after that. They also offer a view of the future during a period of very significant uncertainty while the government’s Brexit position necessarily shifts and changes as we negotiate with the EU and other countries.

If the government is certain that the public’s health will not be damaged by Brexit then it should have no qualms in supporting the “do no harm” amendment to the EU (withdrawal) bill when it is voted on in the House of Lords on Monday. The amendment provides a clear legal safeguard. It puts beyond doubt that, as we leave the EU, the health of the public will continue to be of paramount importance to this and all future governments. It also means that we won’t roll back on the progress we’ve made in public health since we’ve been a member of the EU. It is this reassurance that the public needs.
Prof John Middleton President, Faculty of Public Health
Dr Chaand Nagpaul British Medical Association council chair
Chris Askew CEO, Diabetes UK
Jeremy Hughes CEO, Alzheimer’s Society
Lynda Thomas CEO, Macmillan
Paul Farmer CEO, Mind
Prof Jane Dacre President, Royal College of Physicians
Niall Dickson Co-Chair, Brexit Health Alliance
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard President, Royal College of General Practitioners
Alison Cox Director of Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK
Sheila Duffy CEO, ASH Scotland
Nicola Close CEO, Association of Directors of Public Health
Sian O’Shea Chairman, British Dietetic Association
Kath Dalmeny CEO, Sustain
Prof Carol Seymour President, Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Sharon White CEO, School and Public Health Nurses Association
Sarah Hughes Chief executive, Centre for Mental Health
Shirley Cramer CEO, Royal Society of Public Health
Gill Walton CEO, Royal College of Midwives
Prof Alan Boyd President, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine
Anne Godfrey CEO, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Nina Renshaw Secretary general, European Public Health Alliance
Prof Tamara Hervey Professor of Law, University of Sheffield
Jeremy Taylor CEO, National Voices
Dr Nigel Hewett Secretary to the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health
Judi Rhys CEO, British Liver Trust
Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones President, Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh
Professor Ash Soni President, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Dr Liam Brennan President, Royal College of Anaesthetists
Dr Asha Kasliwal President, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Mike Burdon President, Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Dr Nicola Strickland President, Royal College of Radiologists
Prof Russell Viner President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Paul Tuohy CEO, Cycling UK
Katherine Brown CEO, Institute of Alcohol Studies
Dr Kieran Moriarty Alcohol lead, British Society of Gastroenterology
Prof Hazel Inskip President, Society of Social Medicine
Prof David Galloway President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Dr Paul Jackson President, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine
Dr Richard Piper CEO, Alcohol Research UK/Alcohol Concern

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Brexit bill needs ‘do no harm’ amendment to protect public health | Letter

We welcome the government’s recent reassurances that the public’s health will be protected as we leave the European Union. We do not doubt ministers’ sincerity, but they can only speak for this government, not the one after that and nor the one after that. They also offer a view of the future during a period of very significant uncertainty while the government’s Brexit position necessarily shifts and changes as we negotiate with the EU and other countries.

If the government is certain that the public’s health will not be damaged by Brexit then it should have no qualms in supporting the “do no harm” amendment to the EU (withdrawal) bill when it is voted on in the House of Lords on Monday. The amendment provides a clear legal safeguard. It puts beyond doubt that, as we leave the EU, the health of the public will continue to be of paramount importance to this and all future governments. It also means that we won’t roll back on the progress we’ve made in public health since we’ve been a member of the EU. It is this reassurance that the public needs.
Prof John Middleton President, Faculty of Public Health
Dr Chaand Nagpaul British Medical Association council chair
Chris Askew CEO, Diabetes UK
Jeremy Hughes CEO, Alzheimer’s Society
Lynda Thomas CEO, Macmillan
Paul Farmer CEO, Mind
Prof Jane Dacre President, Royal College of Physicians
Niall Dickson Co-Chair, Brexit Health Alliance
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard President, Royal College of General Practitioners
Alison Cox Director of Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK
Sheila Duffy CEO, ASH Scotland
Nicola Close CEO, Association of Directors of Public Health
Sian O’Shea Chairman, British Dietetic Association
Kath Dalmeny CEO, Sustain
Prof Carol Seymour President, Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Sharon White CEO, School and Public Health Nurses Association
Sarah Hughes Chief executive, Centre for Mental Health
Shirley Cramer CEO, Royal Society of Public Health
Gill Walton CEO, Royal College of Midwives
Prof Alan Boyd President, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine
Anne Godfrey CEO, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Nina Renshaw Secretary general, European Public Health Alliance
Prof Tamara Hervey Professor of Law, University of Sheffield
Jeremy Taylor CEO, National Voices
Dr Nigel Hewett Secretary to the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health
Judi Rhys CEO, British Liver Trust
Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones President, Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh
Professor Ash Soni President, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Dr Liam Brennan President, Royal College of Anaesthetists
Dr Asha Kasliwal President, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Mike Burdon President, Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Dr Nicola Strickland President, Royal College of Radiologists
Prof Russell Viner President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Paul Tuohy CEO, Cycling UK
Katherine Brown CEO, Institute of Alcohol Studies
Dr Kieran Moriarty Alcohol lead, British Society of Gastroenterology
Prof Hazel Inskip President, Society of Social Medicine
Prof David Galloway President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Dr Paul Jackson President, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine
Dr Richard Piper CEO, Alcohol Research UK/Alcohol Concern

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Brexit bill needs ‘do no harm’ amendment to protect public health | Letter

We welcome the government’s recent reassurances that the public’s health will be protected as we leave the European Union. We do not doubt ministers’ sincerity, but they can only speak for this government, not the one after that and nor the one after that. They also offer a view of the future during a period of very significant uncertainty while the government’s Brexit position necessarily shifts and changes as we negotiate with the EU and other countries.

If the government is certain that the public’s health will not be damaged by Brexit then it should have no qualms in supporting the “do no harm” amendment to the EU (withdrawal) bill when it is voted on in the House of Lords on Monday. The amendment provides a clear legal safeguard. It puts beyond doubt that, as we leave the EU, the health of the public will continue to be of paramount importance to this and all future governments. It also means that we won’t roll back on the progress we’ve made in public health since we’ve been a member of the EU. It is this reassurance that the public needs.
Prof John Middleton President, Faculty of Public Health
Dr Chaand Nagpaul British Medical Association council chair
Chris Askew CEO, Diabetes UK
Jeremy Hughes CEO, Alzheimer’s Society
Lynda Thomas CEO, Macmillan
Paul Farmer CEO, Mind
Prof Jane Dacre President, Royal College of Physicians
Niall Dickson Co-Chair, Brexit Health Alliance
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard President, Royal College of General Practitioners
Alison Cox Director of Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK
Sheila Duffy CEO, ASH Scotland
Nicola Close CEO, Association of Directors of Public Health
Sian O’Shea Chairman, British Dietetic Association
Kath Dalmeny CEO, Sustain
Prof Carol Seymour President, Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Sharon White CEO, School and Public Health Nurses Association
Sarah Hughes Chief executive, Centre for Mental Health
Shirley Cramer CEO, Royal Society of Public Health
Gill Walton CEO, Royal College of Midwives
Prof Alan Boyd President, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine
Anne Godfrey CEO, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
Nina Renshaw Secretary general, European Public Health Alliance
Prof Tamara Hervey Professor of Law, University of Sheffield
Jeremy Taylor CEO, National Voices
Dr Nigel Hewett Secretary to the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health
Judi Rhys CEO, British Liver Trust
Professor Michael Lavelle-Jones President, Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh
Professor Ash Soni President, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Dr Liam Brennan President, Royal College of Anaesthetists
Dr Asha Kasliwal President, Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Mike Burdon President, Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Dr Nicola Strickland President, Royal College of Radiologists
Prof Russell Viner President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Paul Tuohy CEO, Cycling UK
Katherine Brown CEO, Institute of Alcohol Studies
Dr Kieran Moriarty Alcohol lead, British Society of Gastroenterology
Prof Hazel Inskip President, Society of Social Medicine
Prof David Galloway President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Dr Paul Jackson President, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine
Dr Richard Piper CEO, Alcohol Research UK/Alcohol Concern

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Bill to give medical staff right to refuse role in abortions condemned

Pro-choice groups have condemned an attempt to create new laws that would allow doctors and nurses to refuse to take part in abortions on moral grounds.

A private bill going through the House of Lords which would expand rights of conscientious objection for healthcare professionals has been dismissed as unnecessary by abortion providers and campaigners.

Those in favour of the bill, sponsored by the Northern Irish crossbench peer Baroness O’Loan, insisted their aim was not to restrict abortion but to uphold freedom of belief and religion they claim is under threat in hospitals since a contentious supreme court ruling in 2014.

The conscientious objection (medical activities) bill passed its second reading earlier this year and is set for a line-by-line examination during its committee stage, which begins on Friday.

If it becomes law it would allow doctors, nurses, midwives or even pharmacists to refuse to not only take part in abortions but also from any indirect preparatory work, such as delegating colleagues or post-procedure care.

As well as abortion, the bill would also allow healthcare professionals to refuse to take part in withdrawing life support and certain kinds of research into embryos.

But the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the UK’s leading abortion provider, said that the proposed law would “enable a tiny number of people” to hinder women seeking abortions in the NHS.

Clare Murphy, BPAS’s director of external affairs, suggested that the expanded rights to conscientiously object would allow nurses to “refuse to bring a woman a glass of water because she has had an abortion”.

“There is already an extremely tolerant attitude towards those who do not wish to partake in providing certain aspects of healthcare,” she said. “Our feeling is that this bill is a solution in search of a problem, but one which could have profoundly negative consequences for women needing care.”

That warning was echoed by Kerry Abel, the chair of pro-choice advocates Abortion Rights. “The law currently already provides healthcare workers with these protections,” she insisted. “Extending this protection to tasks not directly related to the abortion would be to the detriment of women needing to end a pregnancy and the healthcare staff committed to providing that care.”

But O’Loan, a former law lecturer and Northern Irish police ombudsman, said her bill was about upholding the right to freedom of belief, not about restricting access to abortion.

When introducing the bill in the House of Lords, she said health workers deserved the same rights that pacifist conscientious objectors were given during both world wars.

“If you make people do things which they believe are morally unacceptable then the integrity of them as a health service professional would be seriously impacted,” she said.

While she was personally opposed to abortion as a Catholic, she said that her bill did not seek special treatment as many in the NHS were pro-life for non-religious reasons.

The right to not take part in abortions is already written into the 1967 Abortion Act, but O’Loan said that a 2014 Supreme Court ruling meant these protections were now too narrowly defined.

“The section of the Abortion Act provides only very limited protection for a very limited number of people: those who are physically engaged in abortion. It would mean a midwife would have to delegate somebody to do something which she cannot in all conscience do.”

For many decades, hospitals had allowed doctors and nurses to absent themselves from even indirect involvement in abortions, which had worked “reasonably well”, she said.

But a test case by two Catholic midwives from Glasgow which reached Britain’s highest court four years ago had ended with a ruling which upended the previous arrangements.

Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood, two labour ward sisters at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, had for decades been allowed to opt out entirely from abortions, including delegating colleagues to the procedure. But after a management reorganisation ten years ago, they were told that arrangement had to end.

A lengthy legal tussle ended in 2014 with the supreme court ruling that the 1967 Act’s conscience clause only covered “hands-on” involvement in abortion and not the indirect delegation that the two midwives also refused to do.

Doogan said that while it had always been difficult for those like her who considered abortion to be “abhorrent” to work in obstetrics and gynaecology, the court’s judgement meant some people were choosing not to join the profession because of fears they would be forced to assist with abortions against their objections.

The 63-year-old, who has not returned to the NHS since her court case began, said that the health service desperately needed more midwives and doctors in obstetrics, pointing out the Royal College of Midwives estimates the NHS is short of about 3,500 midwives.

“If we get our consciences protected there might be the possibility of more people coming back in,” Doogan suggested.

The argument that expanding conscience protections would hamper access to abortion and undermine women’s rights was “stupid and hollow”, she said.

“That is such a load of rubbish – getting an abortion is easier than going to the dentist.”

Although O’Loan said her bill addressed a non-partisan issue, Labour has said it will oppose its passage through the House of Lords. The long-term fate of the legislation is uncertain, she admitted: the government has remained neutral in the Lords but not yet indicated to her if they would support it should it reach the Commons, although at least one Tory backbencher – Fiona Bruce – has said they would sponsor it.

Corbyn writes to May about man’s £54,000 NHS cancer bill

Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May about Londoner Albert Thompson’s £54,000 bill for cancer treatment, saying the government risks allowing a patient to die because of difficulties proving immigration status.

Thompson, 63, who has lived continuously in the UK for 44 years since arriving from Jamaica as a teenager in 1973, is not receiving the radiotherapy he needs for prostate cancer because the London hospital where he was due to start treatment last November told him he needed to provide proof of residency or pay upfront for his care.

He was unable to supply officials with required documents, so he was told he needed to find £54,000. Thompson, who has asked for his real name not to be used, is increasingly worried about the potential impact on his health of the delay of more than four months. The Labour leader called on ministers to “intervene immediately in his case to ensure that this man gets access to the care that he needs”.

Corbyn said Thompson’s situation was not unique and he was dealing with a similar case in his constituency, which he had also raised with the Home Office. He said the cases were a direct result of new regulations introduced last October requiring hospital departments and community health services to check every patient’s paperwork, including passports and proof of address, and charge upfront for their healthcare if they did not have documentary proof of eligibility.

The case raised the prospect that many undocumented British citizens were being denied free NHS treatment, and that the principle of the universal NHS, free at the point of need, was being eroded, he wrote.

“Every patient, including British citizens, can be asked about their residency status and made to prove they are entitled to free NHS care,” he said. He quoted concerns raised by the shadow spokesperson for health and social care, Philip Hunt, who said in the Lords last year that, as a result of the new regulations, “many people who legitimately live here and have every right to NHS treatment are going to be challenged by the NHS”.

Thompson, who worked as a mechanic before he became ill, has never applied for a British passport because he had no need to, but the Jamaican passport he arrived with was lost many years ago. In the tightened hostile immigration environment, launched by Theresa May in 2013, he has struggled to prove his eligibility for housing support and free healthcare.

A spokesperson for the hospital said Thompson “continues to be treated by his GP as directed by the cancer specialist. His radiotherapy is not urgent. We are very sorry this has caused Mr Thompson distress and uncertainty and are working hard to try to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Thompson said he had not seen a GP about his prostate cancer treatment since early last year.

Doctors have expressed confusion at the decision to classify the radiotherapy as non-urgent. Joe Rylands, a spokesperson for Docs Not Cops, a group of healthcare professionals campaigning to protect free access to healthcare for all people, said: “I cannot foresee any circumstances whereby a patient has been deemed to need ‘discretionary’ radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Either they need it by team decision, when it is potentially life-saving, or they don’t. To withdraw it on the basis of nationality appears unethical and incompatible with the principles of the NHS.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said the prime minister had received the letter and would respond in due course. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our guidance makes clear that urgent and immediately necessary care should never be withheld or delayed.”

Corbyn writes to May about man’s £54,000 NHS cancer bill

Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May about Londoner Albert Thompson’s £54,000 bill for cancer treatment, saying the government risks allowing a patient to die because of difficulties proving immigration status.

Thompson, 63, who has lived continuously in the UK for 44 years since arriving from Jamaica as a teenager in 1973, is not receiving the radiotherapy he needs for prostate cancer because the London hospital where he was due to start treatment last November told him he needed to provide proof of residency or pay upfront for his care.

He was unable to supply officials with required documents, so he was told he needed to find £54,000. Thompson, who has asked for his real name not to be used, is increasingly worried about the potential impact on his health of the delay of more than four months. The Labour leader called on ministers to “intervene immediately in his case to ensure that this man gets access to the care that he needs”.

Corbyn said Thompson’s situation was not unique and he was dealing with a similar case in his constituency, which he had also raised with the Home Office. He said the cases were a direct result of new regulations introduced last October requiring hospital departments and community health services to check every patient’s paperwork, including passports and proof of address, and charge upfront for their healthcare if they did not have documentary proof of eligibility.

The case raised the prospect that many undocumented British citizens were being denied free NHS treatment, and that the principle of the universal NHS, free at the point of need, was being eroded, he wrote.

“Every patient, including British citizens, can be asked about their residency status and made to prove they are entitled to free NHS care,” he said. He quoted concerns raised by the shadow spokesperson for health and social care, Philip Hunt, who said in the Lords last year that, as a result of the new regulations, “many people who legitimately live here and have every right to NHS treatment are going to be challenged by the NHS”.

Thompson, who worked as a mechanic before he became ill, has never applied for a British passport because he had no need to, but the Jamaican passport he arrived with was lost many years ago. In the tightened hostile immigration environment, launched by Theresa May in 2013, he has struggled to prove his eligibility for housing support and free healthcare.

A spokesperson for the hospital said Thompson “continues to be treated by his GP as directed by the cancer specialist. His radiotherapy is not urgent. We are very sorry this has caused Mr Thompson distress and uncertainty and are working hard to try to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Thompson said he had not seen a GP about his prostate cancer treatment since early last year.

Doctors have expressed confusion at the decision to classify the radiotherapy as non-urgent. Joe Rylands, a spokesperson for Docs Not Cops, a group of healthcare professionals campaigning to protect free access to healthcare for all people, said: “I cannot foresee any circumstances whereby a patient has been deemed to need ‘discretionary’ radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Either they need it by team decision, when it is potentially life-saving, or they don’t. To withdraw it on the basis of nationality appears unethical and incompatible with the principles of the NHS.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said the prime minister had received the letter and would respond in due course. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our guidance makes clear that urgent and immediately necessary care should never be withheld or delayed.”

Corbyn writes to May about man’s £54,000 NHS cancer bill

Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May about Londoner Albert Thompson’s £54,000 bill for cancer treatment, saying the government risks allowing a patient to die because of difficulties proving immigration status.

Thompson, 63, who has lived continuously in the UK for 44 years since arriving from Jamaica as a teenager in 1973, is not receiving the radiotherapy he needs for prostate cancer because the London hospital where he was due to start treatment last November told him he needed to provide proof of residency or pay upfront for his care.

He was unable to supply officials with required documents, so he was told he needed to find £54,000. Thompson, who has asked for his real name not to be used, is increasingly worried about the potential impact on his health of the delay of more than four months. The Labour leader called on ministers to “intervene immediately in his case to ensure that this man gets access to the care that he needs”.

Corbyn said Thompson’s situation was not unique and he was dealing with a similar case in his constituency, which he had also raised with the Home Office. He said the cases were a direct result of new regulations introduced last October requiring hospital departments and community health services to check every patient’s paperwork, including passports and proof of address, and charge upfront for their healthcare if they did not have documentary proof of eligibility.

The case raised the prospect that many undocumented British citizens were being denied free NHS treatment, and that the principle of the universal NHS, free at the point of need, was being eroded, he wrote.

“Every patient, including British citizens, can be asked about their residency status and made to prove they are entitled to free NHS care,” he said. He quoted concerns raised by the shadow spokesperson for health and social care, Philip Hunt, who said in the Lords last year that, as a result of the new regulations, “many people who legitimately live here and have every right to NHS treatment are going to be challenged by the NHS”.

Thompson, who worked as a mechanic before he became ill, has never applied for a British passport because he had no need to, but the Jamaican passport he arrived with was lost many years ago. In the tightened hostile immigration environment, launched by Theresa May in 2013, he has struggled to prove his eligibility for housing support and free healthcare.

A spokesperson for the hospital said Thompson “continues to be treated by his GP as directed by the cancer specialist. His radiotherapy is not urgent. We are very sorry this has caused Mr Thompson distress and uncertainty and are working hard to try to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Thompson said he had not seen a GP about his prostate cancer treatment since early last year.

Doctors have expressed confusion at the decision to classify the radiotherapy as non-urgent. Joe Rylands, a spokesperson for Docs Not Cops, a group of healthcare professionals campaigning to protect free access to healthcare for all people, said: “I cannot foresee any circumstances whereby a patient has been deemed to need ‘discretionary’ radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Either they need it by team decision, when it is potentially life-saving, or they don’t. To withdraw it on the basis of nationality appears unethical and incompatible with the principles of the NHS.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said the prime minister had received the letter and would respond in due course. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our guidance makes clear that urgent and immediately necessary care should never be withheld or delayed.”

Corbyn writes to May about man’s £54,000 NHS cancer bill

Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May about Londoner Albert Thompson’s £54,000 bill for cancer treatment, saying the government risks allowing a patient to die because of difficulties proving immigration status.

Thompson, 63, who has lived continuously in the UK for 44 years since arriving from Jamaica as a teenager in 1973, is not receiving the radiotherapy he needs for prostate cancer because the London hospital where he was due to start treatment last November told him he needed to provide proof of residency or pay upfront for his care.

He was unable to supply officials with required documents, so he was told he needed to find £54,000. Thompson, who has asked for his real name not to be used, is increasingly worried about the potential impact on his health of the delay of more than four months. The Labour leader called on ministers to “intervene immediately in his case to ensure that this man gets access to the care that he needs”.

Corbyn said Thompson’s situation was not unique and he was dealing with a similar case in his constituency, which he had also raised with the Home Office. He said the cases were a direct result of new regulations introduced last October requiring hospital departments and community health services to check every patient’s paperwork, including passports and proof of address, and charge upfront for their healthcare if they did not have documentary proof of eligibility.

The case raised the prospect that many undocumented British citizens were being denied free NHS treatment, and that the principle of the universal NHS, free at the point of need, was being eroded, he wrote.

“Every patient, including British citizens, can be asked about their residency status and made to prove they are entitled to free NHS care,” he said. He quoted concerns raised by the shadow spokesperson for health and social care, Philip Hunt, who said in the Lords last year that, as a result of the new regulations, “many people who legitimately live here and have every right to NHS treatment are going to be challenged by the NHS”.

Thompson, who worked as a mechanic before he became ill, has never applied for a British passport because he had no need to, but the Jamaican passport he arrived with was lost many years ago. In the tightened hostile immigration environment, launched by Theresa May in 2013, he has struggled to prove his eligibility for housing support and free healthcare.

A spokesperson for the hospital said Thompson “continues to be treated by his GP as directed by the cancer specialist. His radiotherapy is not urgent. We are very sorry this has caused Mr Thompson distress and uncertainty and are working hard to try to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Thompson said he had not seen a GP about his prostate cancer treatment since early last year.

Doctors have expressed confusion at the decision to classify the radiotherapy as non-urgent. Joe Rylands, a spokesperson for Docs Not Cops, a group of healthcare professionals campaigning to protect free access to healthcare for all people, said: “I cannot foresee any circumstances whereby a patient has been deemed to need ‘discretionary’ radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Either they need it by team decision, when it is potentially life-saving, or they don’t. To withdraw it on the basis of nationality appears unethical and incompatible with the principles of the NHS.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said the prime minister had received the letter and would respond in due course. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our guidance makes clear that urgent and immediately necessary care should never be withheld or delayed.”