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Monday, 13 April 2015

The UKIP effect on the election agenda

When Nigel Farage dropped his 'international AIDS health tourists' factoid in the leaders debate I wondered at the time of the wisdom of it. Sure, he'd clearly chosen something that was clear and unambiguous, that came from DoH's own figures and which couldn't be casually denied by the other parties, but how would it resonate with voters?

It's surely not coincidental that the Mail is running a major story today on, er, a government crackdown on health tourism. Now wait a minute; we're in the middle of an election campaign. What's going on? The Mail says "For the first time, hospitals are being told to ensure everyone proves they are entitled to free NHS treatment..... The measures are part of a Government drive to stop migrants and tourists abusing the Health Service, which costs up to £2billion a year". Right. So either the DoH have issued the guidance recently, during the campaign, or these are pre-existing guidelines that Tory or LibDem PR have shoved in a reporter's face, perhaps previously 'hidden' for fear of offending voters likely to bring their sick relatives to the UK for treatment.

Either way, it's surely Farage's debate point that has led to the story. 

Incidentally, the measures won't solve the major problem, on which I've commented many times, at my local hospital - Nigerian women clogging up the maternity wards. The usual scam is for the Nigerian husband to register as an overseas student with an institution such as the 'Imperial College of Law and Business, 2a High Street, Peckham (above William Hill shop)' and then bring his heavily pregnant wife across to enjoy the best of free UK health care. This can still happen - the Mail reports "Under the guidelines women who are about to give birth will not have to fill in forms beforehand because maternity care is deemed 'immediately necessary' and is free to anyone regardless of whether they can pay. But staff will be encouraged to ask patients for documents once the baby has been born and chase them up with the bill."

And one thing in particular niggles. Hospitals are encouraged to appoint an 'overseas visitors manager'. Perhaps the author is ignorant of the role of the historic post of Almoner, the hospital official previously charged with such duties? Or perhaps the term would offend Muslims.


DeeDee99 said...

The solution is therefore what UKIP propose. Anyone coming to the UK, including the pregnant wives of "students" and the "students" themselves should be required to have comprehensive health insurance.

If they can't afford it, or can't get it on medical grounds, then they should not come here.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Try turning up at a French hospital, heavily pregnant, and with no paperwork to show (a) citizenship and up-to-date taxpayer status or (b) valid insurance.

You'll be shown the door, as these people should be.

Anonymous said...

All visitors should require a visa, one stipulation being valid health insurance. No health insurance, no visa, no entry. We don't want them turning up at A&E on the point of giving birth and then trying to get payment from them after the event - a forlorn hope.

Anonymous said...

We have a midwife in the family and she tells this (health tourism) was going on when she first qualified (Southampton General, 1982).

The National Health Service has been abused by foreign freeloaders for nigh on half a century. The cost? Choose a figure, it's huge

Can't get cancer drugs for a desperately ill father? Ask the political class, they control the conditions for our existence and they really couldn't give two fucks if your Dad dies, especially if he's English.

Vote LibLabCon for a guaranteed continuation of the above.


Demetrius said...

All these people currently being recruited from far away places for the NHS have something in common. They are usually members of extended families whose norm is to help others in this grouping. So when they get here others visit and in numbers to make use of our NHS. So our eye wards are filled with them and if you are an elderly Brit's you either pay up for private or go blind.

Anonymous said...

"Hospitals are encouraged to appoint an 'overseas visitors manager'."

Not so long ago it emerged that UK government institutions were spending an arm and a leg on 'translation services', that furore died down eventually. Betcha any money they are spending more on such things than they ever were at that time.

Cascadian said...

Seemingly the SNP and UKIP are setting the agenda for the entire election campaign. SNP will definitely make inroads on Labour support, I think UKIP will also be big spoilers for liblabcon though not achieve much electoral success for themselves in this election.
I know Farage has studied the Reform party of Canada and understands that eventually he could destroy those three parties but it will take at least two election cycles.
Hopefully the electorate will have patience and understand that changes to whichever governments agenda to align with UKIP policy is a huge step forward.I am not sure the same can be said for SNP>