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CHARITY SNUB ON REFUGEE; No holiday trip for sick Bosnian.

A BOSNIAN refugee receiving pounds 20,000 a year kidney dialysis treatment at Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital has sparked a war of words by asking for a grant to go home on holiday.

The British Kidney Patient Association has refused to give 29-year-old Sefik Krantic the pounds 1,000 he asked for to help pay for a two-week break in Bosnia.

Mr Krantic, who lives in a housing association flat in the city, has had dialysis treatment three times a week since arriving in this country six years ago.

BKPA president Elizabeth Ward said asylum seekers were placing a strain on

the NHS and were being treated at the expense of British patients.

She said if the Coventry patient was well enough to go back to Bosnia on holiday he should return there permanently.

The BKPA is a charity started by Mrs Ward after her son died from kidney problems. Patients are offered some financial assistance in areas such as repaying mortgages and education costs.Dr Rob Higgins, a consultant surgeon at Walsgrave's renal unit, said Mr Krantic was entitled to the same care as British people. He supported his application for a holiday.

"If somebody comes to this country as a refugee they are entitled to NHS treatment while their case is being heard," he said.

"The British Kidney Patient Association has simply refused to have anything to do with a non-British person and that is something I disagree with.

"I think it's good that I live in a society which offers humanitarian treatment to people, regardless of who they are.

"This country involved itself in the Bosnian conflict so we need to put our money where our mouth is.

"Mr Krantic could be dead if it was not for us. Great Britain has saved this man's life."

He denied kidney patients in Coventry and Warwickshire were losing out and said that if Mr Krantic was returned to Bosnia for treatment he could die because of the difference in quality of dialysis.

"No patient who needs or would benefit from dialysis has been refused it in the years Mr Krantic has been treated here."
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Author:Gibbons, Duncan
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 27, 2000
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