Here is another story from the Harrow Law Centre. “Adil” was not the client’s true name.
A hospital bill for £3,000
Adil is Romanian. Although he had worked in the UK for over six years he was presented with a medical bill for nearly £3,000 when his wife gave birth to their son. The hospital trust had decided that in the absence of an EU residence card Adil did not have residence. He must therefore pay for his wife’s time in hospital.
He tried to resolve the matter himself but he was unable to do so. The hospital trust took legal proceedings against him, and obtained judgment for the unpaid bill. It was only when he received notice that bailiffs would be coming to his home to seize his goods that he consulted the Law Centre for the first time.
They immediately saw that he should not have been charged anything, but they had to threaten judicial review proceedings before the Trust admitted they were in the wrong. Adil should have been treated as ordinarily resident in the UK (and therefore entitled to free NHS care) because he was living here on a lawful and properly settled basis for the time being.
In the old days he would have been able to obtain very low cost legal help as soon as the bill arrived, and all this worry and expense could have been avoided.
How many more mistakes like this go undetected because private lawyers are too expensive and people can no longer access very low cost legal help?