Victims of sex trafficking 'at risk' over NHS charging plans
Confusion over whether the charges would apply to maternity services, says RCM
Plans to charge non-EU migrants more for NHS care could put vulnerable women and victims of sex trafficking at risk, midwives have warned.
The health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to end free GP care for short-term visitors earlier this week.
However, Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said that there was confusion over whether the charges would apply to maternity services, which could deter vulnerable women from seeking help.
"The extension of charges to primary care services such as GPs is a concern," she said. "This may deter some women, such as those from vulnerable groups including those that have been refused asylum or have been trafficked, from accessing care at this level. I fear that these women could fall through the cracks and only find their way into the health system when it is too late, if at all."
Plans to make immigrants contribute more to the health service also include a proposed levy of at least £200 for foreigners visiting Britain for more than six months.
Mr Hunt said he was "determined to wipe out abuse of in the system".
The plans have also been criticised by doctors who warned against turning health provision into "a form of immigration control".
"I am deeply concerned that the lack of clarity around maternity services could lead to midwives having to 'police' access to services, and this would be unacceptable," Ms Warwick added. "Previous guidance to provide care to pregnant women irrespective of the woman's ability to pay should still stand. Midwives owe a duty of care to pregnant women and their babies and they should be free to provide care to any women who walk through their doors."
A Department of Health spokesperson said that the plans were at the consultation stage and it had not yet been determined whether maternity services would be covered by new charges.
- 1 The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election
- 2 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
Three killed at South Korean nuclear reactor days after hackers target country's atomic agency
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...