The NHS pricing system for migrants is “inadequate,” a think tank said.
Pricing rules “deter people from accessing health care, cause treatment delays, distract NHS professionals from their care roles and charge patients large bills with no prospect of paying them”, according to a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
He said the system for billing migrants for health care in England has become “increasingly stringent” in recent years.
The latest IPPR report points out that anyone who is not ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK is charged 150% of the national NHS rate for hospital care, unless certain exemptions apply.
The IPPR said the main groups affected by these rules are non-EU short-term visitors and people living in England without immigration status.
The authors of the report wrote: ‘The current NHS billing system is not working. As it stands, billing rules deter people from accessing healthcare, cause treatment delays, distract NHS professionals from their care roles, and apply large bills to patients without any prospect of pay them. “
A change in the definition of “ordinary residence” to one that includes all residents regardless of their immigration status would help improve the current system, they concluded.
It would be “the most effective alternative to the current system,” the authors said, adding that it could “reduce delays in treatment, improve medical outcomes and ultimately help fulfill the UK’s commitment to health coverage for all “.
Marley Morris, Associate Director of IPPR, said: âThe current NHS billing system in England is inadequate. Under these rules, many long-term residents face exorbitant bills for receiving critical treatment. These rules are debilitating for patients, stressful for doctors and nurses, and harmful to public health.
“Our proposals would ensure that all residents, regardless of their immigration status, can access free secondary health care at the point of use, provided they are not a short-term visitor.”
For more stories about where you live, visit InYourZone.