'The NHS has failed to recover the costs of almost three-quarters of the largest bills run up by ineligible foreign health tourists, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
And an investigation has established that the Health Service has simply written off a quarter of all the bills for more than £10,000 sent out over the past five years.
The figures make a mockery of repeated Government attempts to crack down on the scandal which is estimated to cost the NHS up to £280 million a year.
It comes just weeks after the British Medical Association voted overwhelmingly to stop billing foreign patients for NHS care after Left-wing doctors argued the practice was 'racist'.
As campaigners last night urged the NHS to get a grip on the problem, the scale of non-payment was described as a disgrace.
'This is an insult to those working hard in the UK who pay their taxes to fund our NHS,' said Tory MP Andrew Percy.
'Those workers can't get away with not paying their bills, so why should people from overseas who aren't entitled to free hospital care be allowed to get away with not paying?
'Worse still, the BMA and some doctors defend these debt-dodgers who deny the NHS money that should be going to support patients here in the UK.''
Read more: The new health tourism debacle: NHS fails to recover nearly three-quarters of bills run up by ineligible foreign patients
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