The government have relented, abandoning plans to “crack down” on asylum seekers being able to use GPs, the Guardian reports.
Plans were afoot to bar the door to GP surgeries to asylum seekers who’s claims have been rejected, but are appealling or staying in the country as even the Home Office conceeds it is too dangerous to deport them. Many doctors said they would continue to treat people anyway. As Fighting Monsters says:
Good for the doctors who are put into an exceptionally difficult situation by a government that passes out policy documents seemingly on the basis of populist headlines in the ‘Daily Mail‘.
The proposal was brought up in the first place because the Home Office believed people were coming to this country, making their way through the asylum system, with all the fun of detention centres and so forth, for a bit of “health tourism”. The government has now admitted there’s no actual evidence this happens, but in fact:
‘People in that category are often the most vulnerable, they may have communicable diseases, and therefore the view of ministers is that they shouldn’t be denied primary care.’
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there:
Officials are discussing alternative measures, which could involve targeting those with pre-existing chronic conditions or pregnant women hoping to have a baby on the NHS
So, hang on a minute – now the plan is to just deny access to GPs to pregnant women and people with chronic conditions?!