Britain’s senior doctors said the current system is being widely abused.
Therfore, patients will have to take their passport to hospital as part of a clampdown on health tourism. For the first time, hospitals are being told to ensure everyone proves they are entitled to free NHS treatment.
Those at outpatients clinics and in A&E will have to fill in forms stating their passport number and expiry date, and say how much time they have spent abroad, if they are to be admitted on to a ward. The measures are part of a Government drive to stop migrants and tourists abusing the Health Service, which costs up to £2billion a year.
For example, a Nigerian woman who flew to Britain while pregnant with quintuplets had NHS care costing the taxpayer around £200,000.
Bimbo Ayelabola, 33, pictured above, applied for a six-month visitor visa shortly after discovering she was pregnant and moved to the UK to stay with her sister in East London
She gave birth by caesarean section in April 2011 and stayed in Homerton Hospital for almost two weeks.
Her quins, born at 32 weeks, received care in a premature baby unit at the cost of around £35,000 a week.
The mother said she did not have the means to pay, but it emerged her husband was a wealthy businessman who owned a logistics company and a hotel and business centre in Lagos.
Maternity care in Nigeria is free but standards are low and mortality rates are high. Last night it was unclear if Miss Ayelabola or the Nigerian authorities had paid for her care.
Andrew Bridgen, the former Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, said: ‘This is not the International Health Service, it’s the National Health Service. Non UK nationals seeking medical attention should pay for their treatment.
‘The NHS is funded by UK taxpayers for UK citizens and if any of us went to any of these countries we’d certainly be paying if we needed to be treated.’