Duncan Lewis Solicitors client promised life-saving cancer treatment in high-profile case

On 24 April 2018, the Royal Marsden Hospital finally committed to giving Duncan Lewis’ client Albert Thompson[1] the radiotherapy treatment that he needs to treat his prostate cancer; but the NHS Charging Regulations are still unlawful.

Mr Thompson was first told that he would probably need radiotherapy in November 2016, and the treatment was scheduled to begin in January 2018. However, the NHS Charging Regulations then came into force in October 2017.[2] As a result of these regulations, in November Mr Thompson was told that he would have to pay for his treatment in advance or provide proof that he was ordinarily resident in the UK.

Mr Thompson has been a resident in the UK since December 1973. He has GP records, National Insurance records, benefits records and bank records which cover the entire period of his 44 year residence in the UK.

Jeremy Bloom, Trainee Solicitor within the Harrow Public Law Team, has been working tirelessly to challenge the application of these regulations, in order to regularise Mr Thompson’s status and to make sure that he receives the potentially life-saving treatment that he so urgently needs.

We provided evidence of Mr Thompson’s residence to the hospital, but they replied that under the Regulations, they couldn’t give him the treatment they felt was necessary, unless he could show that he has Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.  

We have since put in an application to the Home Office to regularise his status, arguing that he should be granted ILR because of his private and family life. The taskforce that has been set up to deal with ‘Windrush’ cases will be interviewing Mr Thompson later in the week beginning 23 April.

The case has also attracted a lot of attention in in the media and in Parliament. The Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn MP has raised the case twice during Prime Minister’s Questions, and Prime Minister Theresa May broke the news that Mr Thompson would be receiving treatment in the House of Commons. When May made this announcement, our client had not been informed about this good news, and it took a few days for details of the treatment to be clarified. MP Chuka Umunna raised a point of order regarding the case, and wrote to the Royal Marsden directly. The case has been wide-reported in the BBC, The Guardian, and ITV.

It remain unclear why the Royal Marsden has now decided to treat Mr Thompson given their initial delay and refusal to treat him without proof of residence or payment in advance but we are relieved that Mr Thompson will now be receiving the radiotherapy treatment he was promised.

Nevertheless, NHS Charging Regulations are still unlawful and grossly unfair. So long as they remain in force, their application will continue to deny people life-saving treatment despite the fact that they have been here for many decades and should be entitled to this treatment on the NHS. We will keep challenging these regulations.

If you or someone you know has been unlawfully denied treatment on the NHS, please contact us:

Jeremy Bloom: jeremyb@duncanlewis.com

Toufique Hossain: toufiqueh@duncanlewis.com

Photo of Royal Marsden Hospital Via Wikimedia Commons/A P Monblat

 

[1] Not his real name. Client wishes to remain anonymous.

[2] The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) Regulations 2017