The £30 million cost of health tourism in just a year: Overseas patients are continuing to rack up debts despite repeated government promises to curb the abuse
Overseas patients are racking up debts of £5m annually at worst-affected trusts
Amount owed in 2015/16 is almost double the £15.9 million from 2014/15
Experts said figures were tip of iceberg as only cover patients handed invoice
By Sophie Borland Health Editor For The Daily Mail
20 December 2016
Health tourists have left hospitals with £30 million of unpaid bills in one year, figures reveal.
At the worst-affected trusts, overseas patients are racking up debts of almost £5 million annually.
The amount is going up year-on-year despite repeated government promises to curb the abuse.
Freedom of Information requests from 104 hospital trusts show that they are owed £29.5 million from health tourists in 2015/16. This is almost double the £15.9 million from 2014/15, according to details obtained by the Press Association.
The figures provide the most up-to-date audit so far of the scale of health tourism – yet experts said they were just the tip of the iceberg.
This is because they only cover those patients flagged up by hospital staff as ‘chargeable’ and handed an invoice.
Many others slip under the radar as doctors and nurses fail to realise they are not UK taxpayers or turn a blind eye. And the figures only cover two-thirds of the 160 hospital trusts in England. Others did not respond or were not asked.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4050124/The-30million-cost-health-tourism-just-year-Overseas-patients-continuing-rack-debts-despite-repeated-government-promises-curb-abuse.html#ixzz4TOFy1lq5
Our elderly English folk over the age of 75 are being denied life-saving operations and are being sent home to die, supposedly because the NHS cannot afford to treat them. Yet these are the very people who have paid into the system all their working lives. Meanwhile, the NHS runs an annual deficit of more than £2 billion because of the ‘free’ treatment it provides on demand to health tourists from the rest of the world! At least half of this iceberg, of which £30 million is just the tip, is caused by providing free anti-retroviral drug treatment for HIV infected immigrants from Africa and other parts of the Third World.
Many NHS doctors, nurses and administrators refuse to demand ID, or to charge foreign patients before treating them, because they are themselves immigrants from countries from which the health tourists come.
No other country in the world tolerates this – only Soft Touch Britain.
It’s time we took back control of our public services, such as the NHS, as well as our borders.