As part of the UK government’s policy of creating a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants, some women are now charged for NHS maternity care. The fees start at around £7,000 for a straightforward pregnancy and labour and can rise to tens of thousands of pounds for more complex care.
Many pregnant women and new mothers subject to charging for NHS maternity care are socially and economically vulnerable. They may face destitution, sexual exploitation and precarious living conditions. Most of the women charged have no means of paying the debt because they are not allowed to work under the government’s immigration rules.
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