Last month, Maternity Action began a judicial review of the policy of charging vulnerable migrant women for NHS maternity care. We are challenging the practice of issuing bills of £7,000 or more to destitute pregnant women, deterring them from attending essential health care appointments. The challenge is broadly framed and has the potential to benefit a wide group of migrants, including those in receipt of local authority support.
They are arguing for the Government to undertake the long overdue review of the impact of charging on equalities groups. They are also calling for a widening of the current exemptions to include:
– Destitute families (who are mostly lone mothers with children) who receive Section 17 support from their local authority
– Pregnant women and women with new born babies to access maternity care
– Victims of FGM, domestic and sexual violence to access all NHS care
As well as all the work they have been doing on this judicial review since November 2018, they would like to give special thanks the many groups who have taken the time to speak to them about the challenge and to prepare evidence in support.
Maternity Action has a very skilled and committed legal team working on the challenge: Janet Farrell of Bhatt Murphy, Jason Coppel QC, Shu Shin Luh and Laura Profumo. While their legal costs are covered, they are fundraising through CrowdJustice to cover their cost risk, which is estimated at £10,000. This is a lot of money for a small charity, and comes on top of the already considerable investment of resources to prepare for the challenge.
City of Sanctuary supporters are encouraged to share the CrowdJustice through your networks and on social media.
If you would like some inspiration for tweeting about Maternity Action’s CrowdJustice campaign, please feel free to use the below.
Suggested social media content:
1. Maternity Action is challenging the Government’s policy of charging vulnerable migrant women for their #maternitycare. Give your support to their #judicialreview so #AllMothers can get the care they urgently need: https://www.crowdjustice.com/
2. Find out how Maternity Action’s research and campaigning has lead to a legal challenge against the Government’s #NHS charging policy that impacts on vulnerable migrant women and their families #AllMothers #maternitycare https://maternityaction.org.
uk/2019/10/legal-challenge-to- charging-for-nhs-maternity- care/
For further information contact Johanna Hardwick
Senior Policy Officer (Access to maternity services)
Please sign and share the Maternity Action Change.org petition to suspend NHS maternity care charges. The petition is led by midwife Sally Rigby, and backed by evidence from the research report Duty of Care — the impact on midwives of NHS charging. See all the ways you can support the #AllMothers campaign for free, safe and quality care for all women regardless of immigration status.