NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT
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NHS REINSTATEMENT BILL
Some very dedicated people have drafted the NHS Reinstatement Bill and are now looking to the government for support. The proposed bill counters a lot of the changes that the NHS has been undergoing, and repealing the Immigration Act is just one of its aims.
WRITE TO YOUR MP
Write to your local MP to raise this issue with them!
1. Go to www.writetothem.com
2. Type in your postcode and press ‘GO’
3. Select ‘Write to all your London Assembly list members’ (you may need to scroll down)
4. Write your email and send!
You can write whatever you like, but if you feel stuck for ideas, below is a template letter that can be copied and pasted:
As you know, Britons across the ideological spectrum are justly proud and fiercely protective of our public healthcare system. That is why many of us are alarmed by the policies being pursued as a result of the 2014 Immigration Act to impose charges for primary care and harshly restrict NHS access for migrants.
I write to you as part of DocsNotCops: a coalition of individuals united in our commitment to preserve the NHS as it was originally envisioned, offering universal, public healthcare, free at the point of access.
The Home Office must stay out of the Health Service.
The Government’s claims of the extent of so-called ‘health tourism’ have varied wildly and are highly disputed. We feel that they stem from anecdotal evidence and are a politically motivated effort to scapegoat foreigners. Even if we were to accept their claim that the new policies would recoup a few million pounds – not an insubstantial figure – in reality this would amount to far less than 1% of the NHS budget.
In fact, the cost and complication of creating an effective database to track the immigration status of NHS users will do more harm than good. It will needlessly distract NHS staff from their role as caregivers, will create unnecessary costs and bureaucracy and may instill fear and confusion among those who need treatment.
When people are afraid to seek care, potentially threatening conditions will go untreated, resulting in more severe, emergency treatment further down the line – and a greater cost to all. Imagine the spike in communicable diseases, like HIV and tuberculosis, that will result from late diagnoses if people become afraid to visit a doctor. According to the latest figures, 47% of all HIV infections are already diagnosed late. Making primary care less accessible increases this problem, and harms all of us.
Like us, the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Medicine have expressed concern about the potential harm that these measures could cause. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the leader of the BMA’s GP committee, has stated “We cannot have a situation where any patient with a serious health need is deterred from visiting a GP, especially if their condition raises a potential public health risk”. A doctor’s focus should be on treating the patients they meet; denying treatment or refusal on the basis of a person’s immigration status violates the first promise that doctors make: to never do harm.
The Immigration Act is not only a misinformed piece of government legislation but a coded document with a racist agenda under the guise of healthcare reform. The government must listen to the advice and opinions of doctors, healthcare professionals and advocates, and roll back these measures before they cause more harm.
If your party were to win the next election we ask you: Do you support these harmful policies? It is up to MPs in the opposition to stand with us and demand real reform, such ending the ongoing privatisation of the NHS and opting out of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership. Please begin a discussion in the media and the Houses of Parliament about the real consequences of this legislation, one that is informed by reasonable public health expertise and not prejudiced, anti-immigrant views.
In hope that we can work together,