R (WXYZ) v Secretary of State for Health
The Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected a challenge to the sharing of NHS debt data for the purpose of imposing immigration sanctions.
In doing so, the Court of Appeal confirmed the judgment of Mr Justice Silber handed down on 15 May 2014  EWHC 1532 (Admin). A news item summarising that judgment can be found here.
Whilst in general, health services in England and Wales are provided free of charge, individuals who are not ordinarily resident in the UK are (subject to various exceptions and exemptions) obliged to pay for NHS treatment. The Immigration Rules allow immigration sanctions to be imposed on individuals who have unpaid NHS debts of at least £1,000. NHS trusts are therefore required to provide the Secretary of State for Health with certain data about individuals who owe such debts, including their name, date of birth, address and the amount and date of the debt and the name of the NHS body to which it is owed. This “NHS debt data” is then passed on to the Home Office, which administers the immigration sanction system.
Four individuals who owed NHS debts brought a claim for judicial review challenging the transmission of NHS debt data. Rejecting the challenge, the Court of Appeal found as follows:
The judgment is here.
The Secretary of State for Health was represented by Marie Demetriou QC, Sarah Love and Sarah Abram.