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Immigration Status

Whether women were born in the country they are currently living in and how this may impact their perinatal mental health care journey​.

  • Not being born in the country currently living in.

  • NHS Charging regulations​.

Not being born in the country currently living in

Not being born in the country women are currently living in.


"…as Hispanics we do not have insurance and money is what really counts."​

"Because when you’re legal you can take the child to the daycare and look for a job. . . If you don’t work, it’s like you’re dead, being alive. We want our papers so we can progress; not so we can leave or be a load to anyone, but just to work—to buy a home and give our kids a good life. . . I get depressed because I can’t live like normal people because I’m always thinking if I leave or if I stay. . . ​"​

Evidence level: ​High

​Parts of the care pathway affected: Decision to consult, Assessment, Referral, Access to treatment, Provision of optimal treatment​.

Key literature: ​

Hansotte E, et al. 2017

 ​Schmied V, et al. 2017

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NHS Charging regulations​

Despite the NHS being free for UK residents, there are NHS charging regulations in place for those who are not residents of the United Kingdom.

NHS charging regulations have a large negative impact on pregnant and postnatal women, in terms of their mental health - increasing stress and anxiety, their vulnerability to domestic violence and maternal deaths that may have been prevented through access to antenatal care.

Furthermore, Public Health England has identified NHS charging for maternity care as one of the key issues that exacerbates poorer health outcomes for women and babies of colour.​


We recommend support for refugee or immigrant women to be able to access care without being penalised (e.g., through deportation, through charging systems).​

We recommend the suspension of NHS charging regulations until a full independent review of their impact on individual and public health, simplification of charging criteria and exemptions and safeguards to protect vulnerable patients and ensure they are not denied the care they are entitled to, is carried out​.

This recommendation is in line with: (a) a joint statement set out by the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Faculty of Public Health in 2018, calling for a suspension of NHS Charging; (b) a statement from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in 2019 released a statement calling for the suspension of the NHS charging regulations until a full independent review on individual and public health is carried out; (c) a statement from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health calling for an end to NHS charging due to its adverse effects on child health and wider public health; (d) a report from Maternity Action calling for the immediate suspension of charging for NHS maternity care given the deterrent effect on women’s access to maternity care. ​

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