If upfront charges for NHS ‘health tourists’ in England are to be a legal duty – quietly breaching the principle of free at the point of use and setting the precedent for charges in the NHS – then it is our duty as voters and citizens to learn the scale of the issue.
How many patients does the NHS treat every year, and how many ‘healthcare tourists are there per year? The NHS treats a total of 243 million outpatients per year. Of those, 11,000 are possible ‘Healthcare tourists’.
“To inject some facts into Downing Street’s grubby post-truth narrative, the NHS loses more money on missed GP appointments and spends more on stationery”
Dr Clarke -Junior Doctor
Should we break the principle of ‘free at the point of use’ simply to try to stop ‘Health Tourism’, which accounts for just 0.05% of the total number of NHS patient visits per year?Should we be worried that this suggestion was announced hot on the heels of Jeremy Hunt‘s trip to the USA?
Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chairman, said:
“There is no detail as to how upfront charging will be introduced from scratch in just three months, in an NHS already unable to cope with normal operations.”
First they’ll charge the foreigners, and we’ll say nothing because we aren’t foreigners.
Then they’ll start charging the elderly, and we’ll say nothing if we aren’t elderly.
Then they’ll start charging you, and we’ll say nothing because we’ll have been conditioned into thinking any of this was ever acceptable in the first place.
Enough is enough. Charges in the NHS are to be seen for what they are : the thin end of the wedge. If we accept charging, we’ll see more charges introduced.
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