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GPs refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals

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GPs refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals

Post  Panda on Mon 21 Jan - 20:57


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  1. GPs 'refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals'

Half of GPs believe the NHS provision for immigrants is too generous, a survey has suggested, as many now break the rules by refusing treatment to those who cannot prove residency.








The majority of GPs are confused about the rules over which patients are entitled to free NHS care Photo: ALAMY






By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor

2:25PM GMT 17 Jan 2013

690 Comments




While NHS hospitals are allowed to charge foreign patients for treatment if they do not come from a country with a reciprocal arrangement, GPs are forced to take on people without charging.


A survey of GPs has found that the majority think this is too generous and the rules should be changed.


Some family doctors are asking some patients for proof of residency before allowing them to register, contrary to NHS guidelines, Pulse magazine found.


Doctors are complaining that the extra time required by foreign nationals, failed asylum seekers and migrants from EU member states because of language barriers, means they are losing out financially.


The majority of GPs are confused about the rules over which patients are entitled to free NHS care and official guidelines have appeared to contradict each other.



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Widespread fears have been raised over medical tourism with foreign nationals arriving in Britain solely to use the NHS for emergency surgery or to have their babies.

The costs of such care should be recovered by the hospital treating them.

However little is known about the burden on GP practices with rules stating that GPs have a contractual duty to provide free emergency treatment and immediate necessary treatment for up to 14 days to any person within their practice area.

Practices can, at their discretion, accept overseas visitors for inclusion in their patient list if the person is staying more than three months, but cannot discriminate on grounds of race.

GPs can refuse to take on patients from outside their catchment area and can ask for proof of address for these reasons but they must ask all potential patients or none to avoid allegations of discrimination.

The Pulse survey of 229 GPs, found 15 per cent of practices were breaking these rules by asking for addresses only some of the time.

NHs guidance says GPs can only refuse a patient if their practice is full or in exceptional circumstances such as the patient having a history of violence towards doctors.

Foreign nationals do not pay for GP consultations but do have to pay for prescriptions.

An ongoing Government review is examining NHS entitlement in primary care and whether hospital-style charges could be extended.

Dr Paul Roblin, chairman of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs in the area, said the lack of clarity is a major source of frustration for GPs.

"The Department of Health has abrogated its responsibility. It has failed for decades to provide a rule book that is understandable to all.

"You could argue whether it is fair for visitors and migrants to have entitlement to NHS treatment when that is not reciprocated.

"GPs are expected to practice with limited healthcare funding and if we are using that money for treating visitors, the taxpayer loses out.

"It may be more appropriate to have a system where we say that if you can’t provide proof of residence, you have to pay for treatment."

The British Medical Association has advised doctors not to make checks on residency as there is no obligation on them to do so and it leaves them open to allegations of discrimination.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the General Practice Committee at the BMA, said: "If GPs ask for evidence of immigration status or residency from one patient, but not every other patient, they could be deemed to be applying discrimination and that’s something that they should not be doing – so they either need to do it for every patient or do it for none.

"I think it’s better to accept that it’s a role for other bodies in the health service to assess whether someone is eligible for NHS care or not – not for GPs."

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The NHS is not a global health service and we are committed to having a system of entitlement that is fair and affordable to the taxpayer.

“We have recently concluded a wholesale review of charges for primary and secondary care to address concerns about the rules on access to free treatment and to cut down abuse to ensure that those who should pay do so. We expect to make further announcements .

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At last, NHS doctors are brave enough to highlight the immigration system that allows all and sundry to take advantage of NHS resources, already stretched to the limit. The BMA, a political behemoth criticises their action but since Milliband has also conceded that LABOUR made mistakes on immigration maybe the Border Agency will be replaced by Personnel capable of doing the job and find the 200,00 illegals for quick deportation , the thousands of fake students etc. and stop the rot.

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Re: GPs refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals

Post  kitti on Mon 21 Jan - 23:16

I'm afraid it's. A bit late for that now.


Hospitals are closing because off greedy Health Trusts.. You notice as soon as the hospital has had billions spent on it and trusts take over.....it's the end for that hospital ....you can't keep blaming the influx off immigrants when Directors etc have made millions from this .


I also blame the government for letting anyone from the EU come In to the UK, get off the plane and go straight to the benefits office, there laughing at taxpayers and there's nothing that we can do about it because if we say anything then were are racist .


I do notice now when i go to a hospital in London, signs saying that anyone from outside the UK requiring to see a doctor and have to say in overnight will have to pay...how that helps I don't know because they still get free pills etc and free hospital attention if they dont have to stay In.

The NHS will be gone within 20 years I have no doubt about that...immigration will be at bursting point such that it will be at the point off 'no return' and most off the jobs in the building trade, car valettiing etc will be taken up with foreign people on a below minimum wage.

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Re: GPs refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals

Post  malena stool on Mon 21 Jan - 23:38

Is this is coming about now because GP practices are responsible for their budget?

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Re: GPs refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals

Post  Panda on Mon 21 Jan - 23:40

Gordon Brown was solely responsible for the closure of so many hospitals. He gave Private Companies licence to build hospitals so he could lease them back for 30 years , while the Goverment could have borrowed the money to build them with a cheaper rate of interest. Now the NHS pays exorbitant rent and repairs for 30 years and owns nothing.!!!

I also think it was a big mistake to abolish prescription charges, they were a good source of income and made Doctors in Practices less inclined to oversubscribe and use cheaper products capable of doing the same job.

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Re: GPs refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals

Post  malena stool on Mon 21 Jan - 23:52

Panda wrote:Gordon Brown was solely responsible for the closure of so many hospitals. He gave Private Companies licence to build hospitals so he could lease them back for 30 years , while the Goverment could have borrowed the money to build them with a cheaper rate of interest. Now the NHS pays exorbitant rent and repairs for 30 years and owns nothing.!!!

I also think it was a big mistake to abolish prescription charges, they were a good source of income and made Doctors in Practices less inclined to oversubscribe and use cheaper products capable of doing the same job.
It was the witch Thatcher who laid the initial foundation for the death of the NHS, both Blair and Brown had the opportunity to and should have reversed her illegal selling off of NHS land to her rent boy buddies, but they spent their time in power carrying out her plan for privatisation, decimating the skilled front line workforce and installing a multi-tiered non medical management.

Both preferring instead to spend our country's money on sending our soldiers to fight their illegal wars.

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Re: GPs refuse to treat immigrants as NHS too generous on foreign nationals

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