Libyan couple charged for birth in Cardiff

A couple who fled the Libyan conflict to Cardiff are being charged £1,200 by the NHS for their child's birth.

Jamal Teer, who has dual nationality, left Libya in February as part of the British evacuation, with his heavily pregnant wife Mayrouz.

Cardiff MP Kevin Brennan raised the issue in parliament on Wednesday, after the couple received an invoice for Nabeel's delivery.

The UK government has promised to look into the case.

Mr Teer told BBC Wales he had been working in Libya when fighting broke out between rebel forces and Colonel Gaddafi's regime.

He said: "Considering that my wife was seven-and-a-half months pregnant, I started to think about scenarios and if it was going to be possible to get to a hospital because at night-time we could not leave the house as it was quite dangerous."

He has dual nationality, but his wife did not have a visa, and after the couple had no luck contacting the British embassy, they decided to head for the airport.

After a wait they were flown to the UK on 24 February and on arrival Mrs Teer was granted a month's visa with exceptional leave to enter the country.

Mr Teer set about finding a job at a call centre and applying for a spouse visa for his wife.

But while their documents were with the Home Office, she went into labour and their son Nabeel was born by emergency Caesarean at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff on 29 April.

Shortly afterwards an invoice for £1,255 was sent out.

Resident status

Mr Teer said: "It's unbelievable and I'm really disappointed.

"My son is British and he has the right to be born here and it's not his fault that his mother is Libyan and we had to rush here from Libya.

Image caption Mayrouz and Jamal Teer believe they should not have to pay the costs of their son's delivery

"The British Government allowed Mayrouz into the country on exceptional terms and humanitarian grounds - we didn't have a choice."

Mr Teer contacted Cardiff West Labour MP Kevin Brennan to ask for help.

On Wednesday Mr Brennan raised the issue in the Commons with the Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt.

He said: "They have now received a bill from the NHS for £1,255 for the birth of their child.

"Is this any way to treat a family fleeing Gaddafi, and will the minister undertake to look into the matter with his ministerial colleagues here and in Wales?"

In response, Mr Burt promised to investigate.

"The case might be to do with regular UK status, and would therefore be hit by certain benefit regulations about being ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom," he said.

"The decision might have more to do with that than anything else, but at this stage I would be very happy to look at the circumstances and see what can be done."

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