Campaigners from the campaign groups Docs not Cops and the NHS Anti-Swindle Team have today “dropped” a banner in Westminster calling on the government to end the Hostile environment in healthcare.
- Upfront charging for hospital care was introduced in October 2017. Members of the Windrush generation, including Albert Thompson who was told he needed to pay £54,000 to start cancer treatment, have been caught up in this discriminatory policy (1)
- So called ‘Health tourism’ only accounts for 0.3% of the NHS budget (2).
- Migrants are charged 150% of the cost of care, which means that a complications-free pregnancy costs around £5,000-£7,000. For a pregnancy with complications the cost can be 3-5 times more than this(3)
- The trial role out of ID checks in hospitals found a fraction – just 50 in 8,900 (1 in 180 people) – were ineligible for free care. Some hospitals would raise as little £2,500 from their checks.(4)
Evan Luckes – A&E Nurse and member of Docs not Cops says,
“On the day that many of us up and down the country will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS, we’re sending a message to the government to remind them of the founding sentiment of the health service: free, for all, forever.
The introduction of upfront charging for hospital care hasn’t helped solve the NHS funding crisis, instead it has lead to denial of treatment for those who need it most and racial profiling for those made to produce their passports to receive care.
As a nurse , I think it’s unacceptable that the NHS has become a site of the hostile environment. It completely undermines our ability to provide non-judgemental care for all – we should be treating patients, not passports.”