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Proposals to charge migrants for NHS care are unworkable, says BMA

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5342 (Published 29 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5342
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. 1BMJ

The UK government’s plans to charge migrants and short term visitors to use the NHS are fraught with problems and risk damaging the NHS, the BMA has warned.

The government recently outlined plans to make temporary residents from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) contribute to the cost of their healthcare and end free access to primary care for all visitors and tourists.1

But in its response to a consultation on the plans the BMA said that the changes would be burdensome to enforce, uneconomic, and could lead to doctor shortages if skilled migrants were dissuaded from coming to work in the United Kingdom.2

It also warned of public health risks if migrants were deterred from using the NHS and urged the government to instead focus on making improvements within the current …

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