EU citizen GP row
PUBLISHED: 14:42 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:25 12 August 2010
A NANNY was refused the right to register at her nearby GP practice despite living legally in the country as a European resident for four years. Veronica Covacikova, 24, originally from Slovakia, was told she was not allowed to register at Beckenham s St
A NANNY was refused the right to register at her nearby GP practice despite living legally in the country as a European resident for four years.
Veronica Covacikova, 24, originally from Slovakia, was told she was not allowed to register at Beckenham's St James's Practice as she had nothing in her passport to show she was "allowed to stay in the UK".
But the full-time nanny, who lives in Clockhouse Road, Beckenham with her 27-year-old boyfriend Irfan Kuman, is a legitimate member of the EU which entitles her to stay indefinitely in the UK.
Her boyfriend, who was with her at the time, said he was gobsmacked.
He added: "From the moment we walked in they were suspicious of us, like we were up to something. We were made to feel like criminals to try and get a basic right of NHS care."
Miss Covacikova said: "Nothing like this has happened to me before, I found it upsetting."
The couple are still registered at their previous GP surgery in Sydenham but Miss Covacikova decided to change to the practice in Croydon Road after they moved to the area eight months ago.
Most EU nationals do not need a visa in their passport and live and work in the UK without needing any paperwork.
According to the NHS website, every individual living lawfully and on a settled basis in the UK has a right to be registered with a surgery and be treated for free. Where registration is refused, GP practice managers must give reasonable grounds that do not relate to race, gender, religion, class, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or medical condition and the reasons must be set out in writing.
The practice manager at St James's practice refused to comment but a spokesman for Bromley Primary Care Trust (PCT) said: "Bromley PCT cannot comment on this matter as it is for each GP Practice to determine their criteria for the registration of patients.
"The GP contract also states that 'the practice has a right to refuse an application if it has reasonable grounds for doing so.'