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PCT's bill for asylum seeker

A PCT facing a £440,000 bill for the treatment of a failed asylum seeker has criticised the Home Office for failing to tell the trust he was no longer eligible for free NHS care.

North East Lincolnshire PCT has warned plans to improve GP services could be shelved because of the bill.

The Department of Health has told the PCT it must pay for the patient's continuing care because he was registered with a GP in Grimsby when he suffered a serious road accident.

Dr Peter Melton, professional executive committee chair at the trust, said it may take the case to a judicial review. 'The problem we are facing is the Home Office doesn't notify the relevant NHS organisation if a patient is no longer eligible for NHS treatment,' said Dr Melton, a GP in Immingham.

Development plans, such as improvements to stroke, thrombolysis and heart failure services and the introduction of breast screening and community mental health, were under threat, he added.

'We haven't been able to identify resources for these developments. Practices are expressing their frustration that the PCT is unable to support any local practice development.'

A spokesperson for the Home Office said it was not its policy to inform PCTs when asylum applications failed.

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