Monday, 19 July 2010

Time to end free NHS treatment for illegals

It seems everyone knows except our government. And the BBC.

During a Radio 4 mini-documentary on immigrants, a young illegal Brazilian couple with child were interviewed. Both worked hard but illegally, neither paid any income tax or NI, and they were living in 'grey market' social housing. If what the UK really needed was unskilled and uneducated workers, these two would have been ideal candidates for legalisation. But it was when the interviewer asked about the child's birth. "In the maternity hospital, of course" they replied. "Didn't they ask any questions about your immigration status?" the incredulous interviewer asked. "Of course not!" they snorted.

Visit the maternity wards at Lewisham hospital and you'll enter one vast farrowing pen for Nigerian village girls. From their point of view, coming to the UK to have their babies in conditions of high quality medical care, and for free, makes absolute sense. In Nigeria, a health insurance scheme operates, excluding most except government employees, and 20% of children die before the age of five. Wouldn't you lie, cheat and fraudulently manipulate your way to the UK under such circumstances?

The problem is, this is costing us billions. Yes, billions. Billions we can't afford.

The NHS staff who are responsible, from the GPs' surgery that accepts anyone with an address to its lists to hospitals that maintain a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on immigration status, are without doubt good and well meaning people. They are healers and carers, and their job is to heal and care for all. But they don't pay for it - our imperilled economy does.

Individual voter registration gives us the opportunity to comb-out the million-plus illegals in the country. An audit of GPs' lists, with per capita payments only made for those of proven immigration or resident status, would also help solve the problem. But more than anything, a tough-love regime at the reception points of our NHS hospitals with stringent checks and a requirement for payment in full in advance for treatments given to ineligible patients will end this spendthrift waste. The US can do it, so can we.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

"An audit of GPs' lists, with per capita payments only made for those of proven immigration or resident status, would also help solve the problem."

Now that is a good idea.

"Follow the money" is always a good idea; anything that threatens the GPs' enormous revenue streams will certainly make them sit up and listen, and if there's one body of people in the UK tough enough and unpleasant enough to enforce these kinds of limits, then it's your average GP receptionist dragon. I certainly wouldn't mess with them.

Ed P said...

You need a National Insurance number for hospital treatment - how could you get one if an illegal immigrant?
This sounds a bit of a "Daily Mail" scare story.

Nick Drew said...

@Ed P

(a) this is what Polyclinics (sorry, GP-led health centres) are all about - admission & treatment first, questions later or not at all: NuLab pandering to 'increasingly transient populations' (who don't have votes, but the settled minorities they are joining do - and know how to use them in marginal constituencies)

(b) getting an NI number:
"What to expect at the 'Evidence of Identity' interview - The interview will usually be one-to-one (unless, for example, you need an interpreter). You will be asked questions about who you are, why you need an National Insurance number, your background and circumstances. During the interview an application for an [sic] National Insurance number form will be completed and you will be asked to sign this form. If you don’t have any official documents you still have to go to the interview. The information you are able to provide might be enough to prove your identity."

sounds OK but some very ill-qualified people are in possession of NI numbers - a whole lot easier to get than, say, a passport, and that's not saying much

why you need a National Insurance number? - "you need an [sic] National Insurance number in order to claim benefit, pension or allowance" - of course

Raedwald said...

Ed P

You need to quote an NI number, perhaps, but since no enquiry is made of the NI contributions centre, nor record of treatment posted there, you can pretty well use anyone's.

GPs' and hospital's computers don't even talk to eachother; the entire system is still largely paper based, with wads of NCR dockets. It's wide open to abuse even without the benign complicity of staff.