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TOPIC: 'Shameful': widespread outrage over man denied NHS cancer care

'Shameful': widespread outrage over man denied NHS cancer care 14 Mar 2018 11:33 #6518

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‘Indefensible’ that Londoner living in UK for 44 years was told to pay upfront for treatment

Mon 12 Mar 2018 19.42 GMT

Albert Thompson arrived in the UK from Jamaica as a teenager in 1973. Photograph: Jill Mead/for the Guardian
Politicians, doctors and cancer charities have responded with outrage to the case of a Londoner asked to pay £54,000 for cancer treatment because he was unable to provide evidence of residency, despite having lived here for 44 years.

Albert Thompson, 63, arrived in the UK from Jamaica as a teenager in 1973, and has lived here continuously ever since. He is currently not receiving the radiotherapy treatment he needs for prostate cancer because the London hospital where he was due to be treated told him he needed to provide proof of residency or pay upfront for treatment.

Londoner denied NHS cancer care: 'It's like I'm being left to die'

The Royal Marsden hospital apologised for the “distress and uncertainty” caused to Thompson, who was due to start treatment there last November, adding: “We are working hard to try to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jon Ashworth, said the case was “shameful”; the British Medical Association described it as “morally indefensible”, and Macmillan Cancer said his situation needed to be resolved speedily.

Thompson, who has asked for his real name not to be used after legal advice, worked as a mechanic in London, paying taxes for more than three decades, until his cancer diagnosis made it impossible for him to continue working. He said he was hoping that the publicity around his case would persuade the hospital to rethink its decision to deny him NHS cancer treatment, and would also help him get his immigration status resolved. “I want the treatment started – the cancer is the most important thing at present. I get a pain when I cough, and I’m worried,” he said.

Thompson is one of a large number of people who arrived in the UK with their parents from Commonwealth countries, who grew up believing themselves to be British – only to discover, as immigration rules have hardened, that they need documentary proof of their right to be here, which many do not have.

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