Common sense from Theresa May

Tales of elderly relatives of migrant workers from the other 4 continents turning up for their heart by-pass operations on the NHS are FINALLY due to be brought to an end with the announcement from the government that migrants from outside the EU will have to have private health insurance. This is long overdue and a welcome common-sense decision from the Home Secretary, reported front page in today’s Mail. Our only concern is the exemption for A&E. Whereas we would not want to deny treatment to someone involved in a traumatic accident, experience tells us that many migrants from outside and inside the EU use A&E as a one-stop-shop for their healthcare needs. Their logic can’t be faulted – they have a guaranteed appointment with a ‘proper’ doctor within 4 hours!

And in the EU meantime, we still need to sort out cross-border payments (DH is on to this). There is currently a draft directive before the Council of the European Union aiming to clarify patient’s rights to care. However, history has shown that health tourism is a significant cost to the NHS because personal and national bills remain unpaid – although the estimates of £200m don’t seem to have an evidence base. However there are enough anecdotal stories to demonstrate that there is a significant problem. It seems to me that this mess is another reason to get electronic patient records sorted so patient care, treatment and payments can be tracked much more efficiently!


About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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