North East London Save Our NHS (NELSON) are undertaking a powerful campaign to say no to racism, no to scapegoating and no to the Tories ‘Hostile Environment’ in the NHS and the wider community.
Our NHS was founded on the principle that it should be a universal service, available to all, free at the point of use, and funded by general taxation. Based on the principles of social solidarity and pooled risk, it is the cornerstone of shared political and ethical life in Britain.
In recent years, however, this universal eligibility has been challenged by a dangerous and misguided Government scheme to charge ‘overseas visitors’ to Britain. This scheme has denied healthcare to thousands of people living in the UK, British citizens and migrant families alike – both through the introduction of a ‘health surcharge’ on visa applications and more recently the introduction of upfront charging and ID checking across the NHS.
Local KONP campaigners have been watching their local NHS trust, the Bart’s Health Trust, with growing concern. They are rightly troubled by the impact of this policy on the lives of local residents and the shared values of our NHS.
There are already many cases in Bart’s Health Trust of vulnerable migrants being charged for care, sick people being mistakenly denied access to free care, and of our friends, family and neighbours being fearful of approaching their doctor in case the information they provide is used to detain or deport them.
NELSON, an umbrella group coordinating NHS campaigns across the East London Health and Care Partnership (ELHCP) area, including Tower Hamlets and Hackney KONPs, Newham and Waltham Forest, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering, are calling on all local community and faith organisations, voluntary groups and patients (current and future) in the area served by the Barts Trust, to sign an open letter to Barts Health NHS Trust protesting the introduction of ID checks and upfront charging. (Please note – they are only asking for signatures from local people served by Barts Trust).
If you and/or your organisation would like to read the letter and sign on-line please click this link.
You can also use/amend the template letter below. If you do this, please email your letter to us at firstname.lastname@example.org before 10th September with,
‘NO TO HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT’ in the subject.
NELSON and supporting KONP groups will deliver all the letters to the Barts Trust Board on 12th September.
We are calling on all London based Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together and others to join the protest on 12th September:
We will be delivering it to the Barts Health Trust Board at their AGM on 12th September 6.00pm Mile End Hospital. We will be attending this public meeting and you are very welcome to join us. Gather at 5.15pm outside Mile End Hospital at the main entrance (on pavement) in Bancroft Road. Nearest Tubes: Stepney Green (District line) and Mile End ( Central Line and District line).
Pro-forma letter – amend or personalise if you wish:
To Barts Health Trust Board
I am a patient based in Hackney / / Tower Hamlets/ Newham / Waltham Forest / writing on behalf of XXXXX organisation.
We are deeply concerned about the recent introduction of ID checks in the NHS and upfront charging of those unable to prove their immigration status. We are very concerned about the participation of Bart’s Trust in the implementation of such this harmful policy. It is bringing Border Control into our NHS, and destroying the NHS as a universal service, free at the point of use.
The BartsTrust ‘Pre-Attendance Form’ form requires you to give your personal non-health data ( eg passport number/ employers name address and telephone number) and requires you to give your permission for Barts Trust to share the data they have collected with other agencies The Trust is currently making up to 100 enquiries a week to the Home Office about the immigration status of individual patients. All maternity patients at Newham Hospital and renal patients at the Royal London Hospital are asked to produce two forms of ID before they are accepted for treatment. This is despite the fact that a pilot showed that 25% of pregnant women in Newham do not have the required ID.
We oppose charging and ID checks at Barts Health Trust because:
- the policy causes harm to patients, many of whom are deterred from seeking treatment, or delay until their health deteriorates to an emergency crisis
- it encourages discrimination and racial profiling
- it puts health professionals in the impossible position of deciding a patients eligibility for free NHS care when their need is urgent or immediately necessary.
We call on Barts Health to:
- stop asking patients for ID
- suspend upfront charging and
- stop collaborating with the “hostile environment”
(on behalf of XXXXXXXXXXX if for a group).
Please sign our open letter before 11th September. To sign click here.
National KONP is calling on all local groups to undertake similar action in their areas whoever appropriate.
For more information and campaigning on this issue please check out our friends site,
DOCS NOT COPS.