A report has revealed 10,000 Polish women had abortions in Britain last year in procedures costing the NHS between £5 million and £10 million.
Access to abortion is highly restricted in Poland and it is reported that thousands of women are coming to Britain on temporary work permits with the intention of having an abortion.
Britain is a popular destination for abortions because it has some of the most liberal laws in the EU.
The abortions are paid for by the NHS as temporary workers are given a National Insurance number which subsequently allows them to register with a doctor and receive NHS treatment.
Women pregnant for less than nine weeks can be given a pill costing £500. But those further on in pregnancy require an operation costing around £1,600 including aftercare.
The figures have been disclosed by the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning. They support claims that Britain is considered a popular destination for women seeking an abortion because terminations are allowed up to 24 weeks into pregnancy.
This is considerably higher than many other EU countries. Most countries in the EU (16 out of 27) have a gestation limit of 12 weeks. Two thirds of EU countries fix their limit lower than Great Britain.
A spokeswoman for the federation, Aleksandra Jozefowska, said: “On Polish internet sites you can find lots of information on how to obtain an abortion in Britain.
She disclosed: “Every week I have two or three phone calls from women who want to know about abortion in England.”
A London doctor wishing to remain anonymous said: “As long as they get an NHS number, they haven’t got a problem. They can say: ‘I didn’t know I was pregnant until I got here, I’m in an impossible situation and need help’.”
Last month figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that abortion numbers, already in excess of 200,000 in 2007, were still on the rise this year in England and Wales and look likely to set a new record.