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Commonwealth: Health Services

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 30 November 2009, Official Report, columns 113-14WS, on the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting; if he will publish the Commonwealth Health Compact agreement; whether under the agreement Commonwealth citizens who are visitors and lawfully in the UK will be entitled to free hospital care and treatment if admission to hospital was non-elective and the need for admission and treatment was unforeseen before the individual’s entry into the UK; and if he will make a statement. (309548)

The commitments made in Commonwealth Health Compact agreed at the Commonwealth Heads of Governments meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in November 2009 are set out in the paragraph 93 of the official communiqué of the meeting. In the Compact Heads of Government:

Called on donor countries to deliver existing commitments for financing in health and identify ways to increase international resources;

Welcomed the steps taken by low-income countries towards universal access to health services, making them free at the point of use and urged further concerted action;

Support the role of civil society to advocate for, support and contribute to universal coverage of basic health care.

The compact focuses on efforts to support developing countries to meet the domestic health needs of their own populations, particularly by strengthening health systems and removing financial barriers to the poor in accessing to domestic health services. The compact is not relevant to and makes no commitments on the provision of health services by any country to visiting foreign nationals.