The Guardian has reported that hundreds of pregnant women without legal status are avoiding seeking NHS antenatal care because of growing fears they will be reported to the Home Office or faced with high medical bills. The Guardian reports that letters from one NHS trust were sent to women with complex asylum claims warning they will have their antenatal care cancelled if they fail to bring credit cards to pay fees of more than £5,000 for maternity care. These letters contravene NHS guidelines, which state that maternity care should never be denied. The article can be found here.
We in the Maternity Health stream are more than aware of the bleak outcomes for pregnant asylum seeking women, and are particularly concerned by this apparent extra barrier facing women entitled to maternity care.