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NHS should not be free to health tourists

Comment 9th July 2010

The NHS is a key and much loved aspect of British life. The aging population, higher population and increasing healthcare expectations mean that NHS costs are increasing at an unsustainable rate.

Improvement in patient outcomes is essential. In too many instances NHS diagnosis and treatment protocols lag behind those in Europe and are far behind global gold standards. The people of this nation deserve better healthcare and the healthcare professionals of this nation deserve the right to be able to implement best practice for their patients. 

Just as there is re-ordering of priorities in welfare, education, housing etc ., there is a need for realigning NHS objectives and consolidating NHS functions for the improved health status of this nation.

A new method of charging health tourists must be implemented. The old system of providing free care (e.g. delivery of babies & extensive maternity care) and then hoping to be paid at a later date is complete nonsense in this day and age. Yes the NHS must be free at point of delivery for those who have a right here. No the NHS must not be free at the point of delivery for people of all other nations. This country and it's tax payers cannot be expected to provide free healthcare to all visitors.

Set up a committee of healthcare workers, accountants and managers to come up with a system that can (i) identify those who should not be due free NHS care, (ii) rules for acute vs chronic vs maternity treatment of those not due free NHS care, (iii)  efficient credit card 'on the spot' payment collection.

Why does this matter?

It is important that the NHS is not free for health tourists because:

i) the tax payers of this country cannot afford it.

ii) significant resources are used to cater for health tourists and these resources should be used to improve the service for the people of this nation.

iii) the NHS budget must be better managed

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