Hospital bosses slammed for carrying out identity checks on pregnant patients

PUBLISHED: 09:24 24 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:38 24 August 2018

Campaigners from Newham Save our NHS wants Barts NHS Trust to stop carrying out ID checks on patients. Pic: Newham Save our NHS

Campaigners from Newham Save our NHS wants Barts NHS Trust to stop carrying out ID checks on patients. Pic: Newham Save our NHS


Campaigners have slammed hospital bosses accusing them of targeting “vulnerable” pregnant women with identity checks.

Members of health campaign group Newham Save our NHS claim Barts NHS Trust – which runs Newham Hospital – is picking on patients who are migrants by asking them for private details when they turn up at the Glen Road site.

The information collected – including a person’s passport number – then gets shared with the Home Office.

Rosamund Mykura, speaking for the campaign, said: “We believe this hostile environment is damaging to individual patient’s health, to public health, to equality and to the trust of our communities in the NHS.

“Patient confidentiality is important. Newham people need to trust the Trust.”

According to papers published by Barts’ board, the Trust reported in July that it makes up to 100 enquiries a week to the Home Office over the immigration status of patients.

The results allow the Trust to decide who is eligible for free NHS treatment. Patients not entitled to it get charged.

Barts doesn’t refuse treatment “solely because of lack of documentation”, the papers add.

A pilot scheme at Newham Hospital’s maternity department between July and October last year saw 1,497 maternity patients take part. Of these 382 lacked ID.

In total 17 women said they weren’t entitled to free care. They are now faced with paying a share of £104,706 costs.

Inquiries were being carried out on another 77 maternity patients, the board papers state.

Newham Save our NHS campaigners fear Barts’ approach could see people who need treatment staying away from hospital.

Ms Mykura said: “Migrants should not feel scared to use the NHS.”

The campaigners called on Barts to stop asking for ID and “collaborating” with the hostile environment, the name given to government measures designed to make staying in the country difficult for people without the right to remain.

A Barts NHS Trust spokeswoman said: “All NHS trusts have a responsibility to recover costs from those not eligible for free NHS care.

“The pilot we ran among maternity patients at Newham Hospital was part of an initiative involving up to 20 other NHS trusts and was requested by the Department of Health.”

She added that it was clear from the start that no patients would be turned away and no patient had care delayed.

“We are now reviewing arrangements across the Trust to ensure all our patients are subject to appropriate processes and checks in a consistent way.

“We have stopped asking new maternity patients at Newham to bring ID, and anyone who attends an appointment will not be expected to show it,” she said.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The NHS is a national, not an international health service.

“While we expect trusts to charge overseas visitors for using the NHS if they aren’t eligible for free treatment, our guidelines are clear that urgent and immediately necessary care should never be withheld.”

Latest Newham Stories

Justin Edinburgh will make at least one change to the team which won 3-1 at AFC Fylde last time out

Charlie Lee

Pupils from seven Newham schools were able to discover more about science and the aviation industry at an event organised by London City Airport.

London City Airport

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Met Office

A bookseller from Newham has won an award for her work.


Remembrance Day services are always moving and especially so with this year marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Sadiq Khan
Yesterday, 19:00

The University of East London (UEL) has rebuked claims that it has received a £1 million emergency loan from the Office for Students.

University of East London
Yesterday, 18:21

Police have found the body of a missing student with links to east London.

Yesterday, 17:00

Footballer Jermain Defoe, who grew up in Newham, has said he has “amazing” memories of his time with Bradley Lowery, the terminally ill boy he befriended.

United Kingdom


Have you spent time as an unpaid carer? If you are over the age of 25 and living in Newham, the Working for Carers scheme can help you take the first steps back to employment.

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now