On behalf of DAUK Dr Neil Tiwari has written to the Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, in support of Albert Thompson, a 63 year old member of the public, who is not receiving the radiotherapy treatment he needs for prostate cancer due to doubts cast over his immigration status by the Home Office. Mr Thompson has been resident in the UK since 1973 having arrived from Jamaica as a teenager. His mother was an NHS nurse.
Theresa May has refused to intervene and put the onus on clinicians at the Royal Marsden to determine his eligibility for treatment. The DAUK believes this is fundamentally wrong and insist that doctors are not Border Agency officers. The DAUK maintain that it is incumbent upon the Prime Minister to intervene in this case.
You can read the full letter to the Home Office below:
Dear Mrs. Rudd,
'It's like I'm being left to die'
These are the words of Albert Thompson, a Londoner who is being denied life saving treatment.
These are words no doctor ever wants to hear from their patient.
Yet this is the end point of an arbitrary and unnecessarily punitive, retrospective Home Office decision imposed on a gentleman legally resident in the UK for 44 years.
Mr. Thompson arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1973 as a teenager, the son of a hardworking nurse who legally immigrated to the UK and dedicated her life to working in our health service. He worked full time as a mechanic for most of his adult life, until he was no longer able.
In July of 2017, the Home Office cast doubt on his immigration status, stating he had not provided paperwork to prove he was legally resident in the UK. His subsequent eviction from council housing and temporary period of homelessness were precipitated by this decision. Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2017, his immigration quagmire has since prohibited him from undergoing essential radiotherapy at the Royal Marsden hospital. The hospital, constrained by the Department of Health’s guidance regarding payment for treatment by 'overseas visitors', has presented Mr. Thompson with a bill of £54,000 to be paid in full in advance of commencing treatment.
The bottom line is this:
-A father of three, who has made his life here is being denied treatment for cancer because he apparently 'cannot prove' he is British enough.
-As doctors, we the undersigned unequivocally oppose the decision of the home office to deny this gentleman his right to treatment by the NHS, free at the point of care, as is his right.
-We believe that he and others in his position should not suffer needlessly because of changes to immigration policy passed after they were legally granted entry into the country.
-We emphatically assert, that a man who has worked his whole life and paid his dues should not be left to to face death in isolation, after facing the indignity of being excluded from society.
-We acutely feel the frustration of our medical and nursing colleagues who have been barred from treating one of their patients for reasons that are as nonsensical as they are cruel.
-We call on the Department of Health to exempt Mr. Thompson from paying exorbitant fees for treatment he is entitled to, and furthermore advocate an urgent review with the Home Office with regards to the immigration and healthcare status of such persons settled legally in the UK.
Time is running out.
Dr. Neil Tiwari MBBS MRCEM
Core trainee Anaesthetics
The Doctors’ Association UK