Gurkha war hero humiliated by UKs National Health Service

June 25th, 2008 - 5:13 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 25 (ANI): Ailing Gurkha war hero Tul Bahadur Puns humiliating treatment in Britain continues.
On Tuesday, the Hospital Income Generation Manager of Britains National Health Service (NHS), Andy Finlay said 87-year-old Pun’s passport and visa showed he had no right to NHS hospital treatment.
The Gurkha war hero was banned from heart treatment and told to pay up for past treatment, The Mirror reports.
Tul Bahadur Pun, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, had gone to the hospital’s cardiology department for an urgent follow-up appointment.
But bosses demanded to see his passport, and said he would get no more NHS care and that he would get a bill for thousands of pounds for past treatment because he had “misled” them over his immigration status.
The once-proud veteran was close to tears in front of other patients as he was forced to leave West Middlesex Hospital in London.
Ironically, it was the same hospital that saved the war hero’s life last August - since then he has been kept alive by heart drugs.
Finlay argued that Pun had been issued with an indefinite leave to enter visa, not an indefinite leave to remain visa, and therefore, had no access to the NHS.
He also asked the war veteran - one of only 10 living VC holders: “Is that what VC means in his passport?” Pun was kicked out of the hospital on the anniversary of winning the VC in Burma on June 23, 1944.
Pun’s lawyer, Kieran O’Rourke, said: “Mr. Finlay then began to interrogate the old man, who does not speak English and had a friend acting as a non-professional interpreter. Finlay demanded to see Mr Pun’s passport.
“He then made the serious allegation that the VC winner, had ‘misled’ the hospital previously in relation to his immigration status. Finlay told Mr Pun he would have to pay back the NHS. He was shocked and extremely upset.”
Pun - who is also blind and almost deaf - was granted indefinite leave to enter Britain in June 2007 after a Daily Mirror campaign to get him to the UK for NHS medical help.
Last night Pun, who lives on just 135 pounds a week, - said: “I could not sleep worrying about having to pay thousands of pounds for the treatment I have already had. I have not misled anyone, the British Government allowed me to live here.”
But last night the West Middlesex Hospital reversed its decision admitting they had “made a mistake”.
A spokesman for the hospital said it had a policy that patients are questioned to see they are entitled to free treatment. He added: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Pun is now to get a new appointment. (ANI)

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