Press release from the National Health Action Party 11 October 2016
Jessica Ormerod, maternity spokesperson for the National Health Action Party says,
"The Home Office is keen to support a pilot scheme at St George’s University Hospital’s Foundation Trust which aims to make all women prove their eligibility to maternity care. This news is not an unexpected step in the re-shaping of the NHS away from its core values and is designed to deny care to women from overseas.
We are losing our humanity if we can think of excluding the most vulnerable in our society from a basic right to safe childbirth. Surely some of the women affected by this programme are the women and children escaping the bombs in Aleppo, suffering on the perilous journey out of Syria and in make-shift refugee camps across Europe. This is utterly shocking.
Already migrant women are at risk of being treated with contempt by NHS staff and the public. One midwife reported to NHA that she was asked by a senior colleague not to give baby clothes to a migrant mother who had nothing because 'she wasn't entitled to NHS services'. What is happening to our NHS? What is happening to us, if we allow this? We are already far down the road from a universal, comprehensive and accessible public service.
There is simply no justification for the scheme introduced by St George's. In a publicly funded health service the most efficient and cost-effective system is to treat everyone.
Exclusion and denial of care in the two-tiered system being introduced across the country will cost us dear both in terms of money and at the cost of our compassion and humanity.
In the list of costs considered affordable in the reshaped NHS there are: nearly £2 billion a year in PFI rents and maintenance; £billions to management consultancies to advise on ‘creative destruction’; other endless restructuring plans, including ‘turnaround managers’ on nearly £¾ million a year salary; advertising agencies and logo redesigns as hospitals compete for business, and at least £4 billion in the costs of the ‘market’. Putting contracts out to tender, buying and selling services, billing and invoicing, is an expensive business, great for accountants, lawyers and management consultancies, but very disruptive for services.
The NHS has been our social contract for universal, comprehensive, accessible care for 70 years. The governments of the last 30 years have chipped away at it. Denying maternity care on grounds of ineligibility is not the ‘thin end of the wedge’. It is the whole wedge being hammered in and splintering the principles of the NHS to pieces.
Bringing children into the world safely is a measure of a decent society. If we deny maternity care we are no better than the Victorian workhouses that watched countless women die in childbirth. NHA strongly opposes the introduction of these measures and we will continue to speak up for an NHS that cares for all."
Jessica is quoted in the Daily Mail here: