Health

Passports may be needed to tackle ‘health tourism’

The Department of Health (DoH) have announced potential new guidelines to tackle health tourism.

Under the new proposals, patients may be required to produce passports at hospitals.

They may also be questioned about their residence status in the UK whenever accessing a new course of treatment.

However, those needing immediate emergency treatment will not be subject to questioning.

The DoH says these plans will help recoup up to £500 million a year by 2018.

This comes after new charges were introduced for overseas visitors and migrants visiting the UK who use NHS hospital services in England.

A spokesperson for the DoH said:

The surcharge will ensure that those coming to work, study and join family in the UK make an appropriate financial contribution to the cost of the health services they may use whilst in the UK.

Nigel Farage created controversy by challenging treatment of overseas patients with HIV on the NHS. Image: ITV

Nigel Farage created controversy by challenging treatment of overseas patients with HIV on the NHS. Image: ITV

UKIP’s Nigel Farage has also been spearheading a change to NHS services for overseas visitors and migrants.

During the ITV Leaders’ Debate last month, the UKIP party leader was bitterly criticised for his comments:

What good Christian would say to an 85-year-old woman you can’t have breast cancer treatment because we can’t afford it, whilst at the same time shoveling billions of pounds on foreign aid, allowing people from all over the world to fly into Britain as health tourists to get a HIV test and drugs over £20,000 a year.

A study estimated that £388 million is spent each year on foreign patients who find themselves in need of health care while in England.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed that up to £500 million could be recovered from overseas visitors’ and migrants’ use of the NHS every year.

In an interview with Radio 5, Mr Hunt said:

If you’re not paying for the NHS through your taxes, then you should be charged for your use of the NHS.

Some believe all the controversy surrounding so-called ‘health tourism’ is scaremongering, and alienating the sick from the treatments so desperately needed.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s