UK is 'breaking UN rules' by not giving free NHS healthcare to undocumented ...

The UK is 'breaking UN convention on children's rights' by not giving free NHS healthcare to undocumented migrant infants, claim experts A group of experts warned the NHS's charging for care is risking child health One of the professionals involved in the work is from Public Health England Article 24 of the UN's Convention on Child Rights gives the right to health care   

By Sam Blanchard Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 22:31 GMT, 14 March 2019 | Updated: 22:31 GMT, 14 March 2019

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The UK is breaking UN rules by not giving free NHS treatment to undocumented migrant children, according to experts.

A group of seven academics, including a Public Health England spokesperson, say the health service must change track and improve its care for children.

As many as 65,000 children who were born in the UK may be being denied free NHS care because of a 'hostile environment' policy, their editorial said.

All children should be given good quality health care regardless of their immigration status, according to article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (stock image)

All children should be given good quality health care regardless of their immigration status, according to article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (stock image) 

Writing in the journal the Archives of Disease in Childhood today, the group of experts from English universities warned the country is breaking the UN's convention on children's rights.

Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says governments must give all children good quality health care.

But the researchers led by Dr Neal Russell, an expert in child health at St George's University in London, say the UK isn't doing this because it charges undocumented migrant families for care.

The charging is part of the Government's 'hostile environment policy', a set of laws designed to make it difficult or unappealing for illegal immigrants to stay in the UK.

But the prospect of medical costs may drive families with a legitimate right to care away from NHS hospitals, the experts said, putting children's health and wellbeing at risk.

'Restricting healthcare access is clearly detrimental for health outcomes,' they wrote, 'but also child safeguarding.

'NHS charging may exacerbate destitution and vulnerability of families while simultaneously creating barriers to identifying children at risk via healthcare contact.'

Undocumented migrants are charged 150 per cent of the cost of NHS treatment to other foreign visitors.

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