Soon you will have to prove your nationality before receiving NHS treatment

'Papiere, bitte!' An NHS nurse checks a patient's claim to be British in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat idea of a 'fair' NHS.

‘Papiere, bitte!’ An NHS nurse checks a patient’s claim to be British in the ‘fair’ NHS of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government.

Suppose Michael Schumacher had moved to Britain and had his accident here after new government plans for the NHS were put in place – would he have been refused treatment?

Admittedly, that is a bad example to use. Mr Schumacher is undoubtedly wealthy enough to buy any healthcare he needs, and we should not wish poor treatment on him in any case.

It does show up the poverty of the Conservative-led government’s moral attitude, though. The fact that he is German adds another dimension, in that his people may have a particular aversion to any situation in which their papers are demanded by officials before they are allowed to do anything.

The proposals demonstrate the depths to which the UK is falling under the current despotic, unelected right-wing administration and the petty would-be tyrant at its head. We are drifting ever-closer to totalitarianism and comparisons with 1930s and 40s Germany are becoming ever more accurate.

They mean patients admitted to hospital in an emergency would have to be able to prove they are not immigrants, or be refused possibly life-saving treatment.

Ask yourself this: Before you leave your house, do you make sure you have papers on you that prove your nationality? If it isn’t a part of your daily routine, then under our government of new totalitarians, it will be.

Is this so far from the Germany of 70 years ago, where the phrase “Ausweis, bitte” was not only a part of daily life but a hallmark of the Nazi government?

Do we really want that here? Are we really saying we will allow an unelected regime to impose it on us?

Never mind the pretext that it will save money that would otherwise be spent on people who do not deserve the care and will not pay their debt – this is about our freedom.

Do you want to trade your freedom for a saving that isn’t even worth very much – around 1/240th of the yearly national deficit at the current level – and will not benefit you in any way at all?

The government says nobody will be denied medical care – but it also said it would not impose a top-down reorganisation of the NHS, and how long did that promise last? Andrew Lansley had been working on it for many years before that infamous campaign announcement was made, but was under orders not to speak about it until a Conservative-led government was firmly installed in office and nobody could do anything to stop it.

The government says the changes will ensure that the system is “fair” – but then, this government has a strange notion of fairness. According to David Cameron, it is fair to deny life-saving benefits to the disabled and long-term sick in the name of deficit reduction, while granting huge tax breaks to the spectacularly wealthy that ensure the deficit will not go down.

I don’t even know what my NHS number is – but soon I will have to, in order to satisfy Britain’s new immigration officials, otherwise known as doctors and nurses.

Perhaps the government is hoping to make a saving by scrapping the UK Border Agency that Theresa May has so hopelessly failed to reform into an effective force (but I doubt it). Perhaps she was wrong to criticise the previous Labour administration about it as harshly as she did.

Perhaps they will use the money they save to buy jackboots.

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42 thoughts on “Soon you will have to prove your nationality before receiving NHS treatment

  1. Robert Fillies

    Excellent post Mike, illustrates where our human rights are going in the UK, down the toilet.Overseen by a Government, that as you rightly point out was never actually elected and has been enabled to carry out it’s ruthless policies affecting the poorest in society by the totally unprincipled Liberal-Democrats(how ironic that the word democrat appears in their title)for they obviously are not.

  2. Smiling Carcass

    Sleepwalking, sleepwalking as I have tried so many times to tell people into a despotic state run by plutocrats.

    I get ridiculed and dismissed as a conspiracy theorist- at least those are amongst the most polite accusations.

    As we blindly accept the ‘reforms’ as necessary under a torrent of administration and media misdirection, when it comes, it’s too late- as any German over 80 can tell you.

  3. lizbogue69

    Surely we shouldn’t have to prove which country or nationality we are from if we are in the EU as there are reciprocal health care agreements in place. It’s a very simple matter to get a EHIC – or does that no longer entitle one to health care within the EU. Or is the UK simply ignoring the reciprocal care agreements as long as it is not health care tourism.

  4. Nick

    the free healthcare of the uk should only be for those countries who have signed a EU contract in which those countries and it’s people are covered for NHS services only

    common sence me thinks ?

    it is wrong to give free health services to people from countries not on the list of EU members

    no other country in the world gives a free health service to those people not entitled and its very fooolish for the uk to do so

    the rules of the NHS have always been you will be billed if your claiming free NHS treatment your not entitled to and those rules have never changed

    slack NHS management has allowed people to have free treatment over the past years to which they were not entitled

    every country in the world checks first to see if the recipient is entitled to free medical services and if their not they have to fly home ASAP these are worldwide rules and nouthing to do with the EU

      1. Nick

        certainly not mike

        but like in all sane countries the rules of free health care is strictly controlled where applicable to the citizens born of that country only and that is the correct procedure

        everyone else should be in receipt of private travel health care either for business or holiday travel and that it’s fit for purpose and has been purchased from a reputable insurance company

      2. Nick

        you may well be right mike in Tory language it could mean anything the only thing you can be sure of is that it’s not good

    1. George Berger

      That is not accurate, Nick. In 1971 I lived in London for three months, and was an American citizen but not an EU resident of any sort. At that time the UK was not in the EEC. I lived near New York City. While in London, I desired help from the NHS and got it, no questions asked and for free. I cannot be certain, but I doubt that many Brits considered such help “wrong.” Surely the government didn’t. for anyone could access the NHS then. Whatever, saying that a policy is wrong, without giving reasons, is at best an expression of opinion. Perhaps both attitudes towards foreignors and standards for rational discourse have changed, for the worse.

  5. George Berger

    This will be hard to implement. Right now any citizen (or meybe just legal resident or asylum seeker) of any EU Member State can get a healthcare card. It entitles one to medical help in any other EU country. What will the British government do about this? That is, how will such cases be handled? Make exceptions? Abolish interstate EU treaties? Leave the EU? I have Dutch citizenship and have seen the Netherlands take the first two paths, but not for health regulations between States.

  6. jaypot2012

    We become more and more like America yet at the same time go further and further back until we are near the time of Jack The Ripper!
    I’ve said all along that this is our own faults – we did nothing! We could hit this disgusting excuse for a government in the pockets by refusing to pay for so many things, this would inevitably bring down the government.
    I’m not saying that any other party is going to be any better but I very much doubt that they would change things, but the horror I feel if the tories got in again is absolutely terrifying!
    I’ve always said as well that we should have identity cards, as they would stop so many problems.
    I have to be honest and say that I don’t want any more immigrants coming into the country as we have nothing left to give, we truly don’t.

      1. mistynow

        We spent many years working in the Middle East and had to carry I.D. cards, it was the Law of the Land and obeyed by all. We did not feel that it was wrong and our cards had to be used to access all services including having utilities connected, healthcare, schooling even to have your car road tested. It was no problem and dare I say there was no problem with ‘illegals’ we just accepted that it was a card in the wallet/purse.

  7. jeffrey davies

    another tory lie about the nhs it isn’t anywere near whot they try to show getting ready to sell off more like it they been enough reports stating bad nhs yesitsbad they the torys havecut billions off their nhs budget bad torys lieing again wanting us all under the cosh

    1. Mike Sivier

      Cheap alternative to what?

      Also, what about the cost of administrating the new system? Do you seriously believe any money will be saved at all?

      At best this is a phantom solution; at worst, it is an imposition on your freedoms.

  8. Mike Sivier

    I can’t help but notice that nobody has addressed the question of Mr Schumacher’s care, if he was living in Britain and this policy was in effect. Imperfect scenario though it is, would you all be happy for him not to have had treatment?

    1. George Berger

      I did, Mike, although I forgot to mention his name. The issue is implicit in my comment, and more so in my reply to Nick. I would not be happy, for (1) I shall assume Mr Schumacher pays into the German health system. That at least partly covers foreign care, by EU treaties. (2) If he payed British taxes, how can anyone object? (3) My current legal status would be similar to his; that status helped save my life. I had to move from the Netherlands to Sweden for that, although I was going to move anyway, being a pensioner who prefers Uppsala Sweden to Amsterdam.

      1. George Berger

        PS Almost all the care I get here in Sweden requires a Swedish ID Number. Given what I just wrote, I’m not objecting to that. In the Netherlands IDs are normal. It’s a mixed blessing. IDs are medically useful, e.g., but they make tracking your movements and activity easy. I do not like that.

    2. graham sivyer

      I carry my drivers licence and would have no objection to being asked for my papers, infact, would like it if everybody did the same, then you would have no problem with proof at a hospital or any where else. Some people complain for the sake of moaning and appear to think that causing disruption makes them some kind of hero because with out this their existence would be meaningless. Get a life and let the government bring in these measures to make up for years of loony lefties

      1. Mike Sivier

        Everybody here has a life, Graham. I must remind you that comments on this blog may not include personal insults or attacks on other people, including that implied in the line “Get a life”.

      2. Smiling Carcass

        I don’t and never have held a driving licence and have no wish to do so. Certainly, I would object to being asked to prove my identity without reasonable suspicion I had or was about to commit a criminal act.

        In this country we are governed by consent and this is another step toward submitting rather than consenting to being governed; a subtle but very real difference.

  9. stilloaks

    Reblogged this on Still Oaks and commented:
    I would wish for everyone, regardless of their nationality, regardless of where in the world they live, to receive medical treatment whenever they require it.
    This story however does raise the ugly head of a national I.D card.
    The nudge unit has their paw prints all over this. They have clearly decided, that the best way to push us in that direction, is to suggest, “Don’t Want To Die? Papers Please.”
    I wish for a plague of a thousand locusts, to infest the underwear of each and every ConDem.

  10. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Mike and several other bloggers have been pointing out the severe injustice and immense damage that will be caused by the government’s plans to exclude immigrants from receiving NHS treatment. Quite apart from the fact that it is morally wrong to refuse needed medical help to people on the grounds of their nationality, it also poses a wider danger to public health. For example, if an immigrant contracts a dangerous, infectious disease, such as tuberculosis, but dares not seek help because they will be refused and imprisoned and deported, then not only is there a possibility that the person themselves will suffer and possibly die in pain and neglect, but that they will continue to infect others through lack of treatment. In treating immigrants, even if they are illegal, we are also protecting ourselves.

    I also strongly feel that there is a wider programme at work here. The NHS is rapidly being privatised piecemeal by the Coalition, many of whose members make no secret that they are hostile to it. The restriction of free medical care to British citizens seems like part of a scheme to introduce gradually a completely fee-paying, commercial medical service, such as America’s. It begins by demanding the immigrants pay for their own medical treatment, so that British citizens will become slowly used to the idea of certain people having to pay for medical treatment. The requirement to pay for medical treatment is then gradually extended to other groups, until the central principle on which the NHS was founded, that medical care should be free and available to everyone, has been more or less completely discarded. The demands for immigrants to pay for their medical treatment is only the beginning. If the Tories pass this, then there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever they will gradually extend it to you.

    1. Joanna Terry

      The NHS first principle was to be “free at the point of use”, an easy idea to get wrong. The NHS never has been free and it is this we must understand if we want to save it. The NHS is paid for by a little extra payment called NATIONAL INSURANCE, as it is cheaper to collectively pay a small amount than for an individual to find huge sums of money for an emergency operation. It is this principal the tories want us to misundrstand and they look like they might be successful if we don’t take this on board. The NHS has always belonged to the people and is not theirs to sell.

  11. Peachy

    I’m not happy for anybody here not to receive at least the basics, the urgent and life saving, no. It may not be compulsory but it is compassion and compassion is the measure of a man (or in this case, woman)

  12. Mike Sivier

    Another thought that occurs is that, since the government has been keen to sell everybody’s medical details to anyone who’ll buy them, there should be no need for UK citizens to carry any ID at all – you should be able to just say who you are, and the hospital can look up every slightest detail about you.

    1. George Berger

      Mike. Something like this exists now, in Sweden. Every medical organisation you use keeps a “Journal,” with many details. Sometimes seemingly innocent remarks of some medical person about your personality, All journals are aggregated into one large one, online. It is said that selected qualified persons can read this, in part or whole, throughout the country. This is helpful if, say, I become ill while I am in Sweden but far from home. Fine. But I fear misuse. Foe example, who knows what kinds of governments will exist in Europe in ten years time? Will they be able to use your data to harm you in some way. I’m worried about this, since a similar practice assisted ethnic cleansing by the Nazis and their Dutch collaborators, during the Occupation of the Netherlands.

      1. Mike Sivier

        Make no mistake – I’m as much against the selling of this information as I am against the restriction of care to those who can prove their nationality – and let’s remember one thing we haven’t even touched on is what happens when you’re a British citizen but can’t prove it at the appropriate time.

    2. Florence

      Quite so, Mike. I also consider the development of Universal Credit a highly significant stage in keeping the details of every working person, their whereabouts, and their domestic arrangements, their incomes and the need to submit to not only the collection of this information, but it’s use in “conditionality”. This will allow any petty bureaucrat to demand your presence to be interrogated and bullied into doing what you are told or risk destitution and penury. The darkest thought is that NHS treatment – the “Welfare Benefit” of access to health care – will also be rolled into those things subject to conditionality.

      But only for the poor, of course, who will need to be kept under control.

      (It is also worth considering that the DWP already insists that JSA claimants have mobile phones, and the DWP have your number, which – as Snowden has highlighted this week – allows your whereabouts to be tracked 24/7.)

      The current campaign is just the front to lull people into thinking that it will never be them or their families that will ever be affected.

      As to the Schumacher question, then no-one should be denied free NHS treatment as needed, it is the most basic of human rights. The Geneva Convention insists that even in war, injured enemy combatants are treated, which we do, freely.

      The cost of collection of payments should be a consideration, as you say, but we know that the ConDems don’t give a fig for real world money and costs, as long as their ideology is being furthered.

      We should always resist the use of ID cards or papers. They are the making of the totalitarian state. Justifying eligibility of NHS access is just another small step towards repression and control.

  13. George Berger

    In any such case, and for any person, medical staff should be obligated by law, to treat that person as best they can. In fact, *especially* if nationality is unknown or cannot be proven. This is elementary humanity and, as Beastrabban mentions, a means of reducing the risk of spreading epidemics. In the two countries I know well, this practice is followed, although I do not know if the obligation is enshrined in law. This might change, eg if global warming forces mass migration. or if some on the EU Far Right, get their way. Think of Golden Dawn, in Greece.

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    1. Mike Sivier

      I’m currently reading a book entitled ‘NHS SOS’ which features, on page 9, the line, “No wonder the Hippocratic Oath seems to have ‘First Cover Your Ass’ as the most important of its contemporary clauses.”

      It seems, in the modern PHS (Privatised Health Service), managers want “Do As You’re Told” to be the whole of the law.

  15. Malcolm Burt

    There is good logic to the article & some of the subsequent comments.None of us with any sense of decency would wish harm on our fellow man.On that basis alone the answer to the original question as put forward by the author has to be a resounding yes,we will treat him as we are committed & trained to do & his treatment will be free at the point of use.There are 2 issues for me on this treatment of immigrants.The first has little to do with the treatment or the care of N.H.S. patients.It has everything to do with a spent government protecting it`s own vote against U.K.I.P. at the next election.My second issue is the carrying of I.D. cards,even if only by immigrants to start with,would be implemented across the board to all U.K. citizens

  16. Thomas M

    ID cards should only be needed for things like entering military bases, for example, to keep out spies and saboteurs, there they do have their place. But they should not be needed for people in their daily lives if said lives do not involve entering said bases. This government is slowly turning fascist, be it doing this, censoring (or at least trying to censor) the internet, banning legal protests and charities speaking out, or pulling apart our NHS.

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