Statement from Dr Clive Peedell, co-leader of NHA Party on charging migrants for emergency care
“This policy announcement comes on top of the already heightened tensions between the Department of Health and the medical profession amidst the growing crisis over the Junior Doctor Contract. It seems that Jeremy Hunt is determined to alienate the entire NHS staff by re-introducing this already controversial policy to limit healthcare to migrants and turn medical staff into a border control guard.
“There is no evidence that migrants are clogging up or abusing the NHS, as this study into the use of medical services in a high-migrant area of London clearly shows http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1708-8305.2007.00161.x/abstract. We already know that so-called health tourists, those who travel to the UK specifically to use our health services, account for just a tiny fraction - less than 0.06% - of the NHS budget.
"A&E departments are in crisis because of Tory policies not because of migrants.
“Our fear is that this policy could also prove dangerous and costly, as migrants may be put off seeking medical help and end up costing more to treat if their condition deteriorates, or could spread a contagious disease like TB if not treated promptly. It would doubtless cost more to implement than it would save so it’s a nonsense to say it’s being done to resolve the £30bn funding gap.
“Doctors do not want to be a branch of the Border Agency or spend even more time doing bureaucratic paperwork.
"In terms of medical ethics and the duty of care professionals provide to the public, management of the medical condition must come first, especially if it is an emergency.
“What’s more the policy opens the door to more patient charging, which will be used to undermine the principles of the NHS even further."