A variety of news outlets have reported the change in rules that have recently come into force in the NHS; that migrants and visitors to the UK will now be made to pay upfront to access services.
The new rules imposed by the Government are designed to counter “Health Tourism” and are a part of their misguided money saving plans for the NHS, hoping for populist anti-immigrant sentiment to silence vocal opposition – eg from organisations such as DocsNotCops. Instances classified as “Health Tourism” account for around 0.3% of the total NHS budget – close to the cost of setting up the charging mechanism nationally. The fact that health professionals may have to police these rules in addition to the pressures of their day jobs is absurd and our friends Docs not Cops are doing great work in trying to counter this particular aspect of the Governments proposed NHS changes. Those supporting the measure have argued that just one question will be put: ‘have you lived in the UK for 6 months?’
In truth, guidance has put 32 questions that NHS staff should put to patients to check the validity of their answer! This is not acceptable.
It is KONP’s position that refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants should not be refused treatment or excluded from accessing services and that doctors and nurses should not have to double as border agents in the NHS.
We have asked Docs not Cops to write a guest post on this important issue.
We’ve compiled some mainstream news articles from the past week on this topic:
The Evening Standard – Migrants and visitors to UK charged upfront for NHS treatment under new Government rules
The Huffington Post – Foreign Visitors Could Face Upfront NHS Charges In Crackdown On ‘Health Tourism’
The Daily Mail has written inflammatory articles in support of the new anti immigration policy. In this article they state that some hospitals have not yet employed an “overseas visitor manager”, as if that’s what the NHS needs.
The Daily Mail – The hospitals with no-one to keep tabs on health tourists: Busiest centres do not employ staff to check patients’ identities and chase invoices, figures show