Intended for healthcare professionals


Don’t charge migrants for maternity care, say midwives

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 09 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5487
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London, UK

Midwives have called on the government to end the policy of charging some migrants for maternity care, saying it undermines trust and creates a climate of fear among vulnerable pregnant women.

A report by Maternity Action, backed by the Royal College of Midwives, says some women were seeking maternity care late in pregnancy, missing tests and treatments, or completely avoiding antenatal care for fear of charges and Home Office sanctions.1

The report says that the current NHS charging policy is especially damaging for undocumented migrant women, many of whom are economically marginalised and vulnerable. Charges for standard maternity care for overseas pregnant women start at £7000 (€7830; $8655).

“Midwives should not act as gatekeepers to maternity services,” said Gill Walton, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives. “Women affected by these …

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