The new Immigration Bill can affect immigrants in getting health services in UK. If the Immigration Bill of the Government’s is enacted, the victims of trafficking, domestic violence , etc. could be deprived from availing the free health care services.
The new bill at present is being debated in the House of Commons. It proposes to restrict the immigrants in availing free NHS in the country.
The most common services that are provided by the NHS in UK are emergency care, general practitioners and dental services. People also get advice on the way to access such services.
New charges to be imposed:
The new Bill proposes to charge immigrants and overseas visitors for some NHS as stated by the ministers. These services include prescription fees, charges for some emergency care and charges for eye care as well as dental services.
But the general practitioners and nurse consultations will continue to be free. Moreover immigrants will not be denied treatment in case of an emergency.
Other services are under consideration:
The government had considered imposing charges upon general practitioners consultations, but it was decided that some emergency access should be available as they are always required to prevent risks to public health from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Other kinds of health care services which are being taken into consideration for charging are minor surgeries which are done by general practitioners and physiotherapy as referred by general practitioners.
The Government is also planning to introduce a new system to identify patients who are likely to be charged for NHS.
Object of charging for health services:
The government said that the proposed changes would help the NHS to gather money for their services, and encourage only those people who require urgent and emergency services.
It was stated that having a fair and free health service is very important in the country, but the Government aims to ensure that the system is justified for the British taxpayers.
The government tends to make changes in the health care services to better identify migrants. As such the introduction of charges at primary care is an initial step to achieve this.
The Government also aims to check the abuse of its NHS. The new bill if implemented will prevent the illegal immigrants from availing and abusing public health care services in the country.
The details of how the plans are going to be implemented are likely to be revealed by the end of March of this year.
The Government officials also stated that victims of human trafficking and domestic violence should not denied treatment due to any sort of error in identification as delay in identification would cause delay in providing medical assistance.
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