NHS migrant charging system ‘unfit for purpose’ and ‘harmful to public health’, think-tank says

A new report suggests that granting free healthcare to all residents, regardless of immigration status, could be more cost-effective and improve medical outcomes, Andy Gregory reports

Tuesday 23 November 2021 00:12
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<p>A paramedic walks past ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital</p>

A paramedic walks past ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital

England’s current system for charging migrants to access the NHS has been dubbed “unfit for purpose” and “harmful to public health”, after a report found it may be incentivising racial profiling and is deterring people from getting vital treatment.

In conjunction with the Home Office’s “hostile environment” policies, the rules for charging anyone not deemed “ordinarily resident” in the UK for healthcare have become more stringent in the past decade – with charges for their hospital and community care increasing to 150 per cent of the cost to the NHS.

But a new report from the leading Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank has found that recent changes to the “highly complex” system may not be cost-effective for the taxpayer, and may have hampered the country’s collective response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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