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Failed asylum seeker rules unlawful


14 April, 2008  

Regulations which stop failed asylum seekers from receiving free NHS treatment while waiting to be deported to their home countries are unlawful, the High Court has ruled.

A judge held that guidance issued to NHS trusts advising them to charge unsuccessful asylum applicants for treatment does not apply when the person concerned would otherwise be treated as being “ordinarily resident” in the UK.

The ruling potentially affects up to 11,000 failed asylum seekers who have acquired “ordinarily resident” status because their return home has been delayed for more than a guideline period of six months.

Mr Justice Mitting granted the Department of Health permission to appeal against his ruling, given in a test case against West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust brought by a Palestinian man with chronic liver disease. The asylum seeker brought the case against the trust after it refused to provide care for his chronic liver condition.

It is thought he is willing to return to the West Bank but is currently unable to do so because of travel restrictions.
 
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