Migrant health: Trusts asked GPs to identify whether patients they refer are eligible for free NHS careBMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6002 (Published 17 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6002
All rapid responses
Re: Migrant health: Trusts asked GPs to identify whether patients they refer are eligible for free NHS care
There is clear BMA policy on this: "doctors should not become agents of the UK Border Agency".
Furthermore, it is almost completely pointless.
Since changes a few years ago, anybody is entitled to register with a GP in the UK.
Registering with a GP - coupled with having been OR EXPECTING TO BE resident in the UK makes you "ordinarily resident".
Unless there are reasons to suspect that an individual has come to the country for the express and main purpose of seeking NHS treatment, any patient registered with a GP should be assumed to be eligible for secondary care.
GPs should not agree to act as border agency staff in the way proposed.
* British Medical Association. BMA policy book 2015-2016. Policy 791: "doctors should not become agents of the UK Border Agency". London: British Medical Association, 2017(Downloaded 27 October 2017); 1-270 (https://www.bma.org.uk/-/media/files/pdfs/working%20for%20change/arm%202...).
* McCall B. UK NHS-Home Office agreement undermines patient trust. Lancet;389(10074):1087.
Potter J. Border control in a healthcare setting is not in the public's best interests. J Public Health 2017;39(2):219-220 doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdx051
* Docs Not Cops, Medact, Migrants Organise. Patients Not Passports: A toolkit designed to support you in advocating for people facing charges for NHS care, and in taking action to end immigration checks and upfront charging in the NHS. Patients Not Passports, 2018; Updated; Accessed: 2018 (20 Dec): (http://patientsnotpassports.co.uk/).
Competing interests: No competing interests