TUC calls for NHS health charges for non-EEA citizens to be scrapped

TUC submission to Department of Health on NHS charges for non-EEA citizens
Report type
Consultation response
Issue date
15 Feb 2018

The TUC has submitted evidence to the Department of Health calling both for upfront charges for non-EEA citizens to use the NHS to be dropped but all health charges for non-EEA citizens to use the NHS to be scrapped.

In our submission the TUC highlights that these charges are inequitable and damaging as they:

  • Undermine the foundational ethos of the NHS to be a service based on preventative care and promoting public health. 
  • Prevent low income migrants from receiving the care they need.  This particularly negatively affects already marginalised groups such as undocumented migrants with children, disabilities or who are pregnant as well as asylum seekers.
  • Increase the risk of racial profiling  and discrimination against Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.
  • Require health professionals to be immigration officers and make document checks ahead of providing care.  We believe health professionals should be able to make clinical decisions without charging considerations being taken into account. 
  • Pose a threat to public health as undocumented low income migrants with communicable diseases like HIV and TB are unlikely to seek care until their symptoms become serious.  By this time there is a risk that these life threatening diseases could have spread to the wider population.