A sick joke! NHS moans about lack of funds but FAILS to collect hundreds of millions from health tourists because doctors don’t think it’s their duty to recover costs
Hospitals are failing to claw back money owed from health tourists
Barely any improvement has been made on charging foreign patients
Most doctors aren’t even aware they should be charging such patients
Hospitals are particularly bad at recovering costs from EU residents
By SOPHIE BORLAND HEALTH EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL
28 October 2016
Hospitals are failing to claw back hundreds of millions of pounds from health tourists, a damning report reveals today.
Barely any improvement has been made on charging foreign patients for NHS treatment, despite a ‘major crackdown’ four years ago.
Most doctors aren’t even aware they should be charging such patients – or don’t think it’s their duty.
Today’s analysis by the National Audit Office highlights how hospitals are particularly bad at recovering costs from EU residents.
And it warns that the health service will fall £200 million short of a target to recoup £500 million a year by 2018.
The analysis comes at a time when the NHS is struggling with a high deficit and problems with overspending.
Only yesterday, a report by the General Medical Council claimed the ‘intense pressure’ created by a £2 billion total in hospital deficits was having a corrosive effect on morale in the medical profession.
However, this is the same figure that some experts say is the total cost of health tourism to the NHS every year.
Last night, campaigners said it was still ‘far too easy’ for health tourists to abuse the system and called on NHS hospitals to demand all patients provide proof of ID.
Though trusts have designated staff to chase payments, guidelines from the Department of Health state that doctors and nurses must do all they can to help identify health tourists.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3880514/NHS-fails-collect-hundreds-millions-health-tourists.html#ixzz4OOnl0bfL
Every foreign HIV patient – whether here legally or illegally, whether a failed ‘asylum seeker’ or a student on a temporary visa – is entitled to free treatment on the NHS.
This is the result of a decision by the Con-Lib Dem government in 2012 to make HIV treatment free to all non-British visitors after lobbying by Establishment politicians and taxpayer funded campaign groups. The aim was supposedly to stop the spread of the virus.
However, many believe this change has led to an increase in so-called health tourism as diseased foreigners swarm into the country to access free NHS treatment. British embassies even advertise the free service throughout Africa.
The process is simple: foreigners can get a unique and permanent NHS number, which they are then usually able to use to get free hospital care. They can also book an appointment online or just walk in without a doctor’s referral.
Of course, the treatment is not actually free – it’s paid for by British taxpayers. You and me. The 2012 change in rules means that HIV health tourists receive £20,000 of antiretroviral drugs every year.
Treating HIV infected immigrants on the NHS is estimated to cost at least £1 billion per year – equivalent to half the annual deficit of the NHS – and is growing year on year.