The proposals centre on amending the Immigration Rules in order to make non payment of NHS charges specific grounds for refusal of entry or further stay in the United Kingdom. The proposals do not impact on a migrant’s access to NHS services but rather the UKBA and Department of Health aim to make it easier for the NHS to recover payments from migrants and prevent the system from further abuse. The proposals are not simply aimed at non EEA nationals but also those British Nationals who are normally resident abroad.
Research shows that:
- The NHS in England Invoices chargeable visitors over £25 million each year where payment was not secured in advance (i.e. where emergency treatment was required)
- 50% of invoices were paid within a year, however, £5 million has to be written off
- NHS bodies incur not only medical costs but also costs relating to outstanding payments
- £5 million equates to the basic salaries of over 150 nurses for one year
In a statement in the consultation document Phil Woolas, the Border and Migration Minister said “the issue of migrant access to the National Health Service gives rise to strong feelings on many sides of the immigration debate. In reaching final decisions the Government has embraced the need to strike the right balance between protecting public health, NHS resources and human rights on the one hand by ensuring vulnerable groups receive free treatment at an early stage to head off the risk of the spread of infection and prevent health conditions from exacerbating requiring more expensive downstream medical intervention, and on the other ensuring we have fair rules on free access. The National Health Service is a national resource for the people of the United Kingdom, not a free for all service internationally for non-residents.”
The ‘Refusing Entry or Stay to NHS Debtors’ Consultation will be open until the 28th May 2010.
Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).
To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your details now and we will get right back to you.. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.