Tory plan for health checks on immigrants 'unworkable'

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Indy Politics

A Tory call for new immigrants and asylum-seekers to undergo compulsory health tests was condemned yesterday as "extremist and unworkable".

The proposal - coupled with a warning over soaring rates of infections being imported to Britain - came under fire from the Government and the British Medical Association.

Vivienne Nathanson, head of ethics at the BMA, said: "The plans to tackle global threats to public health are poorly thought out ... We do not think decisions about asylum applications should be based on the health status of individuals."

Under the Tory scheme, all new arrivals would be assessed to ensure they could not transmit an infectious disease or represent a "long-term drain" on the health service. They would be detained until the tests had been met and refused entry to the country if they refused to co-operate.

Liam Fox, the shadow Health Secretary, said: "We now have higher rates of TB in London than in places such as Azerbaijan."

A Labour spokesman said: "The Tories are making cheap political capital by pretending the issues are not being addressed when they are."

The Liberal Democrat health spokesman, Evan Harris, said: "This is an unnecessary, extremist, unethical and unworkable policy which will do little to improve public health and much to damage our economy and the fabric of our society."