A hospital spent £181,000 treating just one illegal immigrant, it was reported last night. Details of the patient’s bill emerged as it was reported that millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money is being spent in cases where there is no hope of getting it back. Portsmouth Hospitals Trust wrote off the £181,000 bill, according to The Sun.
The most notorious case of health tourism was Nigerian Bimbo Ayelabola, whose care while she gave birth to quintuplets cost taxpayers £145,000. Ayelabola, 38, travelled to the UK from Lagos in 2011 and needed a caesarean at Homerton Hospital in East London.
She returned to Nigeria without paying her bill and now works as a make-up artist in Lagos and drives a £17,000 car.
Another patient, a Ghanaian, was deported before a £42,000 bill was paid, leaving East and North Hertfordshire Trust to pick up the tab.
The NHS admitted last year that it had failed to collect £65 million from foreign nationals, although the figure is expected to be higher because many patients are never identified.
Guy’s and St Thomas’s Trust in London wrote off £5.1million treating patients from overseas, and unpaid bills cost Barts Health Trust £268,000.
One individual owes almost £500,000 to a top London hospital and another has received free kidney dialysis, three times a week, for nearly eight years, a Daily Mail investigation revealed.
Angus Dalgleish, a professor at St George’s, University of London, told The Sun: ‘The cost is huge. No other healthcare system in the world could cope with it and the abuse of this system must be stopped.
‘We’ve made it easier for hospitals to get back this money and we expect them to make sure they recover it.’