The day-to-day realities facing the NHS. The hospital's overseas officer, Terry, tries to recoup money from patients on the ward who are not UK residents.
A woman from Nigeria recovers in the hospital after going into premature labour with quadruplets, having fallen ill on a flight. Only three of her babies survived the dangerously premature births and they are now being cared for in Neonatal Intensive Care. She receives a visit from the hospital's overseas officer Terry, whose job it is to prepare her for a huge bill. Because she is not a British resident, she must pay for the care that she and her babies are receiving. The cost of such specialist care quickly tops £100,000 and looks likely to rise to half a million pounds during their stay. Terry explains that, despite her distressing predicament, it is a legal requirement for the hospital to collect the money the NHS is owed.
'We have to start raising invoices on a weekly basis. She has three babies in ICU. So that's £20,000 a week for each baby, plus her own charges as well... You have to distance yourself emotionally. Otherwise you wouldn't get the job done.'
The woman is just one of a number of overseas patients who are receiving lifesaving care and from whom the hospital must now try to recoup money. Although emergency treatment given in A&E is free, non-UK residents who are admitted to a ward have to be billed.
Terry also needs to charge Sonia, a 56-year-old woman from the Philippines who suffers heart problems while visiting her sister, who is a UK resident. Cardiothoracic surgeon Rex Stanbridge saves her life, but she suffers complications and needs a bed in Intensive Care - costing thousands of pounds per day.
In 2015/16, the Trust's overseas patient charges were £4million, with Terry's team managing to collect £1.6million. Despite carrying a credit card machine to take on-the-spot payments, Terry finds it hard to get many patients to pay up.
|Executive Producer||Lorraine Charker Phillips|
|Executive Producer||Simon Dickson|
|Executive Producer||Helen Littleboy|
|Series Producer||Tom Currie|
|Series Producer||Gilly Greenslade|
|Series Editor||Graeme McAulay|
|Production Company||Label 1|