Jeremy Hunt: He warned us that ‘health tourism’ was costing us a fortune, five years ago; it isn’t.

Tory racism rolls on without much ado.

This aspect relates to so-called ‘health tourism’. Remember a while ago we were being force-fed reports that people from foreign countries were ripping off the NHS for £2 billion a year?

The total cost to the 48 people listed in the Evening Standard article quoted below was less than £160,000. It does not represent the cost of ‘health tourism’ in the 18 NHS trusts that participated in the pilot scheme for around two months last year – just the amount paid by people who identified themselves as foreigners when they were asked. That’s an important distinction to make.

If those figures were replicated across all the NHS trusts in England, the total amount payable by foreign patients would be less than £12 million per year – less than 1/167th of the amount suggested by the Tories in 2013.

Now get ready for the punchline: “The Department of Health declined to say whether the ID checks would be abandoned in light of the trial.”

This is throwing good money after bad (don’t forget that the cost of running the pilot scheme was paid by the NHS – and ultimately the taxpayer – and takes funds away from healthcare.

There could be only one reason for continuing with ID checks:

The persecution of Johnny Foreigner – and, for that matter, any UK citizen who can’t produce two forms of ID. Can you?

A pilot scheme set up by Jeremy Hunt to check whether patients were entitled to free NHS care found only a tiny number were ineligible, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Figures from London hospitals which asked 8,894 people for two forms of ID prior to treatment showed that only 50 — or one in 180 — had to pay for their care. Campaigners today called on the Government to abandon any plans to extend the pilot nationwide as they branded the attempted crackdown on “health tourism” a “waste of time”.

Source: 8,900 checks on NHS ‘health tourists’ find just 50 liable to pay | London Evening Standard


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