Those seeking aid from the NHS and are not from the UK will now have to pay for care due to the new law passed this year. This comes as figures have shown a new breed of tourism has appeared, Health tourism, which costs the NHS a reported £1.8 billion or 0.3% of its budget. This also includes UK citizens who live abroad and return to the UK for treatment.
A pilot scheme has also been running in several Hospital including Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. There, patients are told to bring a passport or birth certificate as well as proof of residence, such as utility bills or bank statements, to new appointments. The chief executive, Stephen Graves, said: “There has not been any impact on the number of non-UK residents coming through the system for treatment but we do now identify non-eligible patients sooner and at a higher volume than previously.”
The Government also plans to save £500 million to recoup the costs from the past years and feels charging foreign nationals is a necessary cause. Despite the Governments justified reason there still seems to be an opposition who feel the measure is tough and could have dangerous repercussions. One person from a local practitioner has warned that “If migrants know that doctors and other healthcare professionals will actively liaise with the Home Office to deport them then they will avoid seeking healthcare. That’s hugely dangerous – especially in pregnant women, because without prompt early access to healthcare they stand a much higher risk of presenting as an emergency later on, potentially with much worse outcomes.” This is something the Government must take into account to avoid scrutiny in the near future and to any problems with this new law in the coming years.