In the UK this means that in many cases patients run up bills of £100,000 or more, and are not chased to pay back a penny.
Two Nigerian women who had nine babies between them in two London hospitals a few years back, racked up charges of £645,000 and paid nothing.
By its very nature it is impossible to put a figure to how much this “health tourism” costs, but experts put it at anywhere between £200million and up to £2billion. Doctors, and others, rightly complain about our creaking NHS, so how on earth can they turn their backs on this?
Do they not realise every pound spent on a woman from Nigeria or a man from Canada, or anywhere else (with the current exception of EU countries) is a pound that cannot be spent on British citizens who funded the service in the first place!
The doctor who proposed this, Dr Jackie Appleby, even had the gall to say the cost of health tourism was “peanuts in the grand scheme of things”. Pretty expensive peanuts at hundreds of millions of pounds.