What are the new NHS charges?
People without ‘legal permission’ to live in the UK have to pay 150% of the cost of some NHS services. These groups are often the most vulnerable in our society, with no means of paying for healthcare, making it impossible to get the treatment they need.
Those applying for an (over 6 month) work or study visa (from outside the EEA) have to pay £200 (students £150) a year to use the NHS.
Who does not have to pay?
British citizens, those with ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’, Refugees, Asylum Seekers, refused Asylum Seekers with an outstanding appeal, detainees, victims of human trafficking and abuse.
What impact do these charges have?
Even people who are exempt from charges could be put off applying. First by having to complete long forms in English. Second by needing to provide proof of immigration status which may be problematic. Fear of authorities is likely to be a major factor.
Why is NHS charging bad for all of us?
Charging erodes the founding principles of the NHS and could affect all who rely on it.
The Government has developed the technology to charge for NHS services, which could easily be extended to other groups. Some people may be deterred from seeking treatment, leading to their conditions worsening, more emergency admissions and avoidable deaths.
Why is charging bad for the NHS?
The requirement to racially profile patients, pass information to the Home Office, and potentially refuse treatment to those who cannot pay goes against NHS workers’ professional principles. It increases stress within already highly stretched services.
Many NHS staff who are non-EU citizens will be restricted from accessing NHS services they themselves provide.