NHS open to misuse by foreigners
United Kingdom, 1st May: The UK’s National Health Service(NHS) is vulnerable to abuse by foreigners due to lax rules.
The system is in dire and an immediate need of reforms at the earliest, several campaigners have cautioned.
Serious loopholes in NHS—As per the claims made by campaigners, the NHS is likely to become a world health service for foreign visitors if the government does not take care to reform the process. As of now, the system offers free treatment to visitors to the UK.
And in order to avail health care services in the UK, foreigners just need to have a UK visitor visa.
Highlighting serious loopholes in the NHS, UK think-tank Migration Watch UK maintains foreign citizens can get access to health care just immediately after they arrive in the UK on a six-month UK visitor visa.
No proof required for getting NHS in the UK--An interesting fact worth mentionable here is that there is no rule allowing GPs to ask for proof of residential address or ID of patients registering themselves for getting free health care services in the UK, informs chairman of Migration Watch UK, Sir Andrew Green.
It is up to the concerned GP to consider whether to ask patient who is a foreign national his ID or residential proof before registering him for NHS or not, Sir Green further adds.
Almost any foreigner coming to the UK on a visitor visa can get services of a GP without spending a single penny from this pocket. And considering the fact that the UK issues nearly one and a half million UK visitor visas each year, the nation must revamp this process as early as possible, asserts Sir Green.
UK Health tourism needs reforms—It is not just legal immigrants who might have been taking benefit of this loophole in the NHS. In fact, a large number of undocumented immigrants might also be enjoying free NHS, cautions Migration Watch.
This is casting a hole of around £10m annually in the pocket of the UK taxpayers since majority of such foreign nationals never pay back for the health care services received by them. Cost of health tourism in increasing to the UK taxpayers.
So, the need of the hour is to immediately stop such practices or the NHS might become a ‘World Health Service’, warns Sir Green. Among steps for controlling health tourism abuse include having rules compelling foreign nationals to pay for getting services of a GP or buy health insurance.
And those who do not pay back their treatment costs must be shunted out of the UK.