[Image: Frances Roberts/Alamy].

Why on Earth would TV political shows (Victoria Derbyshire, Daily Politics) be discussing whether the NHS should charge foreign visitors for treatment, when the NHS already charges foreign visitors for treatment?

Is it perhaps a ‘dead cat’, thrown into operating theatres to distract us from something else that’s happening today – the committee-stage debate on the Article 50 Bill, perhaps, or Theresa May’s performance during Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit (she’ll grovel).

The simple fact is that we know health tourism takes place but the cost is one per cent of the total NHS budget – and the health service does take steps to recover the cash.

It was a major part of a BBC documentary last week.

That being said, I don’t see any harm in checks at border controls, to ensure that visitors have either valid health insurance or the financial means to pay for any medical treatment they may need.

But these checks would need to take place before people were admitted to the UK. NHS staff themselves should not be asked to perform such duties as they have far more important jobs to perform.

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