Plans to require pregnant women to show their passports before receiving NHS care is a “concern”, midwives has said.
St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust has said expectant foreign mothers who do not have access to maternity services have been targeting the hospital in London.
This has caused them to state they will endeavour to “check patients for their eligibility” when accessing non-emergency NHS treatment, a spokesperson told the BBC.
“This move by the trust is a concern,” said Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
“I am sure no trust would deny care to women in labour or who are pregnant and arrive at a hospital needing urgent care related to their pregnancy.”
Warwick added: “To be clear, the law says, and government policy states, that trusts must offer care to women in labour, irrespective of their immigration status in the country.
“They are not border guards, they are healthcare professionals there to deliver clinical care to all women. This is not their job and never should be and we have been assured by the trust that they will not require them to do this.
“Their job is to care for the women who walk through the doors of their maternity unit and it is the responsibility of trusts to care for and treat these women.”
Warwick said this move could also be “dangerous” because it could deter women from seeking care.
“This could potentially have a serious impact on the health of the mother and their baby and the outcome of the pregnancy,” she added.
“I would ask the trust to clarify their policy and to give assurances that all pregnant women who need care will receive it, no matter what their immigration status.”