Monday 8th February 18.30 at the Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James’ Street Sheffield S1 2EW (doors open at 18.00 for refreshments)
destitution-demo22The Department of Health has recently announced proposals to charge overseas visitors and migrants for their use of primary and emergency healthcare. These proposals are contained in recent Immigration Bills which seek to create a “hostile environment” for many migrants and visitors to the UKUnder these new proposals, those who are currently chargeable for secondary (ie specialist) healthcare will become chargeable for all the care they receive from the NHS, apart from GP and nurse consultations.

This will include introducing charges in primary care (apart from GP and nurse consultations), community care and emergency care (including ambulance services, A&E and walk-in centres).

This will involve health workers acting as border guards, checking patients’ immigration status before treating them, a proposed role the British Medical Association have condemned

Charging procedures in the NHS are already deterring vulnerable people seeking protection from accessing medical help, with significant consequences for their own health and wellbeing as well as public health.

There is little evidence for the Governments’ claims of widespread “health tourism” as the BMA argue here and the independent fact-checking organisation Full Fact show in-depth here
Whilst we welcome the fact that people seeking asylum and refugees will continue to be exempt from new charging procedures, we are worried that vulnerable refused asylum seekers will be further excluded from accessing the healthcare that they need.

We are also concerned that extending charges for healthcare set a precedent which can be extended to wider sections of the population

Lorna Gledhill, representing the Regional Asylum Activism project will introduce a discussion on the proposals and we hope that migrants, healthworkers and other trade unionists will discuss how to stop the Government’s proposals to charge for and police healthcare. There is also new public consultation on the extension of charges for overseas visitors and migrants using the NHS in England. The consultation document is accessible here.

As “Docs Not Cops” say “No one should be afraid to go to the doctor, either because they can’t pay or might be punished. And doctors should not have to police the people they treat”.

Note the new email address for this SYMAAG bulletin: please use this address to get in touch with us.

As always, don’t let lack of money be a barrier to attending any SYMAAG events like this one. Bring your ticket/receipt to the meeting and we can reimburse you in cash at the meeting for any reasonable travel expenses. Or get in touch with us before the meeting if you need to.

email: [email protected]  web:  Twitter: @symaag and Facebook