Socialist Worker

Clampdown on migrants could paralyse sick baby

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2346

A baby could be left paralysed because her parents don’t have the right to live in Britain. This makes her ineligible for treatment.

And David Cameron is putting more children at risk as he ramps up his racist war on immigration.

Sanika Ahmed was born in Portsmouth last July. She has Erb’s palsy and needs surgery on her right arm within the next two weeks.

If she doesn’t have the surgery her arm could be paralysed for life.

Yet the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Middlesex has refused to treat her because her parents don’t have the right to live here.

Sanika’s mother, Syeda, said, “Sanika is slowly, slowly getting paralysed. It is very upsetting.

“We’re struggling to look after her and our two other daughters. We are shocked and can’t eat.”

The hospital has offered to treat Sanika as a private patient. But her parents can’t afford the tens of thousands of pounds it’s estimated this would cost.

Her father, Muhammad, worked legally when he arrived in Britain from Bangladesh in July 2008. But his work permit has since run out and he has not been able to work.

Yet the family have made their lives in Britain. “When I came here I was single,” said Muhammad. “Now I have a wife and three kids.

“They are growing up here so it is not easy to go back to Bangladesh and start again.”

Sanika’s case shows the reality of what Cameron’s call to “get tough” on migrants really means.

He declared that Britain has a “free National Health Service not a free International Health Service” in yet another anti-immigrant speech this week. But the idea that migrants are a “drain” on the NHS is rubbish.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said foreign nationals owed the NHS at least £200 million a year. His department later admitted this was based on “speculation”.

Even if it were true, this adds up to just 0.2 percent of the NHS budget.

Cameron also said foreign nationals claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance must now prove that they have been actively looking for work. But claimants already have to do this.

There were two million net migrants to the UK from the eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.

Cameron accepts that just 13,000 of them have claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance.

He emphasised that the amount of social housing going to migrants rose between 2007-2012. But the figures are tiny—a rise from 6.5 percent to 9 percent.

Cameron’s speech was a vile attempt to scapegoat migrants for their problems.

Our real enemy is this rotten government.


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News
Thu 28 Mar 2013, 13:04 GMT
Issue No. 2346
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