NHS slaps British expat couple with £40,000 bill

A British expat couple are facing an NHS bill of £40,000 after their baby was born prematurely while on a trip home to England.

Paul Barnes, 33, moved to Zambia a decade ago and was joined by his fiancee Sophie Henley, 25, in 2014.

Every year they travel home to the UK to spend Christmas with their family and friends.

It was during a trip home that things took an unexpected turn and baby Archie was born seven weeks early in January.

Archie weighed just 3lbs and has been kept in an intensive care incubator since January 23 suffering from breathing problems.

Paul Barnes and his pregnant fiancée were on holiday in the UK visiting family and friends when complications led to son Archie being delivered seven weeks early by emergency c-section

Paul Barnes and his pregnant fiancée were on holiday in the UK visiting family and friends when complications led to son Archie being delivered seven weeks early by emergency c-section

However the couple have been told they will have to pay for the bill.  

As of February 22 this stands at £40,000, and they have been told they have to pay a 150 per cent tariff as they are not from the European Economic Area. 

They fear it could rise to £60,000 before Archie leaves specialist care at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. 

The pair are both British citizens - and have paid years of tax and NI contributions - but because they are no longer residents, they don't qualify for free NHS treatment. 

Paul Barnes, 33, moved to Zambia in Africa to work in the safari industry a decade ago and was joined by his fiancée Sophie Henley, 25, in 2014

Paul Barnes, 33, moved to Zambia in Africa to work in the safari industry a decade ago and was joined by his fiancée Sophie Henley, 25, in 2014

Mr Barnes, who will have to leave his family and return to Zambia to work in the coming weeks, said: 'I'm 100% British. I would never ever renounce my British passport for anything.

'I feel, and always have felt, British. I was born here and of course so was Archie. We might be residents of Zambia for now, but he isn't.

'We paid tax and National Insurance while we worked here, and our families have done so and still do so.

'I feel many things at the moment. I hate having to ask people for money. It's nothing I have ever done before.

'I feel nervous about my son's health. I feel that more than anything. I'm worried about the money too. It's very hard.'

Archie weighed just 3lbs and has been kept in an intensive care incubator since January 23 suffering from breathing problems

Archie weighed just 3lbs and has been kept in an intensive care incubator since January 23 suffering from breathing problems

Mr Barnes met Miss Henley when she travelled to Zambia for work and she moved to Africa to join him in 2014.

They flew back to the UK to see family for the safari 'low

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