Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Ashya King: John Hemming MP seeks assurances on return

Ashya King Image copyright AP
Image caption Ashya King is currently being treated in Spain

An MP has sought assurances on what action UK authorities may take if cancer patient Ashya King returns home.

The five-year-old's parents fled with their ill son after disagreeing with doctors in Southampton and he has since been granted NHS treatment in Prague.

John Hemming MP said he had written to Portsmouth City Council and the NHS trust asking about their intentions.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust told the BBC it was no longer responsible for his care.

Mr Hemming said he wanted a promise that the family would not be gagged if legal action was taken.

A trust spokesman said: "Ashya King is no longer under the care of clinicians in Southampton and UHS is no longer responsible for his care, so the trust would have no involvement with any decisions made about the family in the event of a return to the UK."

He said Ashya became a patient of Motol University Hospital when he arrived in Prague on 8 September and added he was now under the care of a Spanish consultant.

"The only body with oversight of the safeguarding and welfare of Ashya is Portsmouth City Council and its safeguarding children board," he added.

The council has yet to comment.

NHS England, which is funding his treatment, said it has no plans to take legal action.

Mr Hemming, Liberal Democrat for Birmingham Yardley, was contacted by the Kings' own MP Mike Hancock, independent for Portsmouth South, due to his experience in dealing with cases of this type.

Ashya King timeline

  • Ashya had surgery for a medulloblastoma brain tumour at Southampton General Hospital
  • His parents, Brett and Naghemeh, removed him from the hospital on 28 August and sparked a manhunt when they travelled to Spain
  • They were arrested but later released and Ashya was flown to Prague, Czech Republic, for proton beam treatment
  • He had six weeks of proton beam therapy - at an estimated cost of £80,000
  • Ashya is recovering at a hospital in Spain

He said Ashya's parents Brett and Naghemeh were concerned the authorities could take legal action if they believed brain tumour patient Ashya was not receiving the appropriate treatment back in the UK and could seek an injunction stopping them from speaking out.

Mr Hemming added: "The family has been protected by publicity. This would stop everything happening in secret.

Image caption Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming said he was awaiting a response from the council and NHS trust

"It is the family's decision when they would return, but we are looking for some reassurances."

He said he sent the letter last week but had yet to receive a reply from the council or the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Speaking earlier from their holiday home in Spain, Mr King told ITV: "If they ever try to take Ashya away that would kill us.

"Till things are established with what's going to happen with Ashya, we feel too scared to return."

They said Ashya was "improving each day" and was able to walk with support, whereas previously "it was almost like we were carrying him".

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