Essex

Asylum seeker bid for NHS treatment at Basildon Hospital 'wrong'

Basildon Hospital Image copyright PA
Image caption ERA had been seeking free treatment for her breast cancer at Basildon Hospital

A Nigerian asylum seeker has lost a High Court bid to receive free NHS care for her advanced breast cancer.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, self-funded her treatment in the UK from 2015.

She has now claimed asylum due to Nigeria's "inadequate medical facilities" and argued this makes her entitled to NHS treatment at Basildon University Hospital in Essex.

The High Court dismissed her bid as "wholly inappropriate and wrong".

The woman, who is known as ERA, entered the UK on a medical visa in May 2015 and paid for her own treatment, including surgery, the court heard.

'Inhuman and degrading'

As first reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, solicitors applied for her stay to be extended in 2017, arguing her removal would breach the Human Rights Act.

The government dismissed ERA's application in 2018 because her "treatment can reasonably be continued in Nigeria", the court was told.

Basildon Hospital told her she would be billed for her treatment.

Her barrister Stephen Knafler QC told the court she was seeking asylum because of the "inhuman and degrading treatment in Nigeria, arising from the inadequate medical facilities there".

As a result, he argued ERA "cannot be charged for NHS services whether life-threatening, urgent or merely routine".

In his judgement, Mr Justice Kerr said "one does not naturally think of ERA as an asylum seeker".

He dismissed the claim for free treatment as "wholly inappropriate and wrong".

ERA's asylum appeal, which has had to be postponed because of her ill-health, is due to be heard on 25 June.

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