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 pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. 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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