The above story appals. It’s the latest, however, in signs that England is drifting away from its long traditions of universal health care, formalised by the 1945 Labour Government, and away from their survival in Scotland.
In the Guardian on September 9th:
The safety of vulnerable mothers and newborn babies is being put at risk by NHS fees that deter undocumented migrant women from accessing care, a new report from Maternity Action backed by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has warned. NHS packages for overseas pregnant women start at £7,000 for antenatal, pregnancy and postnatal care, but can rise to thousands of pounds if the mother or child experience complications.
The situation in Scotland according to the BMJ in May is different:
Of course, care does not have to be restricted in this way. In Scotland and in Wales, a different approach is being taken. There, “refused” asylum seekers and migrants whose status is deemed “irregular” have the same rights and entitlements to health care as the general population.
Earlier on 23rd March, in the Guardian/Observer, we read:
‘Three-quarters of NHS hospital trusts in England are using private debt firms to chase treatment costs from overseas patients and refused asylum seekers in a practice branded “inhumane” by critics’
I searched and searched but could find no evidence of a single case of a Scottish health board pursuing the sick for the cost of treatment. Tourism is booming so there will have been a few candidates. I’d have been horrified if I had. That wouldn’t be the better country I want to live in.