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Health Services: Immigrants

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 29 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) health and (b) financial impact assessments he has made of charging refused asylum seekers or other undocumented migrants for NHS care; and if he will make a statement. (167762)

Charging refused asylum seekers and other undocumented migrants for national health service hospital treatment has been in place for over 18 years. In conjunction with the Home Office, the Department is currently reviewing access by foreign nationals to NHS healthcare. The review is looking at a range of asylum and immigration issues as well as public health and humanitarian concerns.

Charging overseas visitors for hospital treatment is not merely about the protection of scarce NHS resources. Equally important is the protection of the principle that the NHS exists primarily for those people who are living on a legal and settled basis in the United Kingdom, not those who are not.