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 is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry.
Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council.
Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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