A GRAVELEY-ill asylum seeker has been told she must pay for the cancer treatment that she is receiving at Basildon Hospital.
The woman, known only as ERA, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in Ghana in 2015 and came to the UK for treatment in May 2015, with a visa permitting entry on medical grounds.
She received privately-funded treatment in 2015 and 2016, before returning to Ghana in April 2016. She returned to England in September 2016 for further treatment, again with entry clearance on medical grounds.
She underwent surgery in October 2016 and on February 20 2017, ERA applied for further leave to remain because of her medical condition, on “human rights” grounds and for leave to remain “outside the Immigration Rules because of compassionate and compelling circumstances”.
She stated that she could die if she had to leave the UK because of the treatment she was receiving. If she had to appeal from outside the UK that “will be devastating and it may lead to death”.
The Secretary of State refused the application, arguing it was “not considered that this is treatment that is required to be undertaken in the UK and treatment can reasonably be continued in Nigeria.”
ERA appealed against that decision to the First-tier Tribunal. Her appeal had to be adjourned at least once due to her ill health. It is now listed for hearing on June 25.
In her grounds of appeal, her counsel Stephen Knafler QC said her removal to Nigeria would place the UK in breach of its obligations under articles 3 and 8 and, consequently, in breach of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
In the meantime ERS, who since October 2018 has been treated at Basildon Hospital, has been told the hospital regards her treatment as chargeable and that she would be invoiced for the cost of it.
Her defence has argued that ERA is seeking international protection against inhuman and degrading treatment in Nigeria, arising from inadequate medical facilities there.
She is therefore, it is argued, an asylum applicant within paragraph 327 of the immigration rules and therefore a person who has applied for asylum under regulation 15(b) who cannot be charged for NHS services, whether life threatening, urgent or merely routine.
However Mr Justice Kerr has dismissed those claims.