Scotland cannot officially scrap this surcharge for its migrant workers even those working for NHS Scotland but it can, and seemed to last year, turn a blind eye, when payments are not made:
From March last year:
‘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, the Observer can reveal. Data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows that 77 of 102 hospital trusts have used private debt firms to pursue ineligible patients. Of 60 trusts that provided patient numbers, 8,468 patient debts were referred to private debt collectors between 2016 and 2018. However, of the 48 trusts that provided full financial details, only about £1.5m of the £21m of debt referred to private firms during those three years has been recouped – barely 7%.’
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. I’d have been horrified if I had. That wouldn’t be the better country I want to live in.
Mind you, maybe our health board accountants had already worked out that it would cost more to pursue than we’d get in return – canny!