The 14 Words

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The NHS, a paradise for parasites. Foreigners using NHS cost Britain up to £2BILLION a year

Foreign visitors and short-term migrants cost the NHS £2billion a year, an official report warns today.

The first comprehensive assessment of ‘health tourism’ says the true cost to taxpayers is 100 times bigger than some estimates. It concluded the Health Service has ‘some of the most generous rules in the world’. And it even found evidence of relatives of migrants taking advantage of visits to Britain to have free treatment.

The bill was put at between £1.9billion and £2billion – with only around 16 per cent of the money clawed back.

The Government said it would be ‘impractical or inappropriate’ to charge in full some patients, such as students or those with infectious diseases. However Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt hopes to recover up to £500million a year, arguing Britain cannot afford an ‘international health service’.

The study estimates that £388million goes on foreign patients who should pay for their care but are never charged.

Health tourists – those who specifically travel to the UK for treatment – cost up to £300million more. The Home Office plans a new annual levy of £150 on foreign students and £200 on temporary migrants. The surcharge is expected to generate £200million.

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