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Bishop criticises Government plans to charge migrants for healthcare

By on Thursday, 4 July 2013

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt (Photo: PA)

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt (Photo: PA)

An English bishop has denounced Government plans to introduce a charge for migrants to access NHS services.

Under the new proposals migrants currently eligible for free health care would have to pay a charge upfront before entering the country.

The proposals are currently at consultation stage and the Department of Health has said it is “striving to create a fair system without denying healthcare to those in paramount danger”.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said: “We are clear that the NHS is a national health service not an international health service and I am determined to cut out abuse in the system.”

But Bishop Patrick Lynch, lead bishop for migration of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has raised a number of concerns about the proposed charge.

“It is not helpful to use the term ‘migrants’ without clarifying that we mean migrants from outside the European Union. Now is not a time for overblown rhetoric – a balanced debate is clearly needed,” he said.

“We should never deny medical care to children under any circumstances and those who are seriously unwell should never feel that they will be turned away if they are unable to pay.

“The proposals do not differentiate between grave, serious and less serious medical conditions and they will put doctors and nurses in an invidious position where they will be prevented from putting patient care first.”

  • anon

    Unfortunately, the direction of travel this government plans is persistent privatisation, to charge all of us for medical care at point of access.

  • paulpriest

    We’ll spend billions killing foreigners but a dying one arriving here has to pay to live?
    …meanwhile the tabloids care more about naked celebrities and soap operas

  • $27740841

    PP, that’s not the plan. No-one will be denied health care if they need it. Migrants who come to the UK to better themselves economically, or students who come to study will be asked to pay £200 up front to cover medical costs they may incur. That’s all.

  • Kevin

    From this article I cannot see how the Bishop is qualified to make the statements he has. Hunt’s comment seems perfectly reasonable.

    If the Bishop wants to start a self-funding parallel “welfare church”, as existed in this country before the Protestant Revolt, then by all means he should do so.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    If the Bishop wants to start a self-funding parallel “welfare church”,
    as existed in this country before the Protestant Revolt, then by all
    means he should do so.

    It sort of still exists, but that’s actually a pretty decent suggestion …