The Daily Mail comments – On day two of our investigation into abuses of the health service, it emerges that ministers have known for nine months about foreigners charging the NHS for treatment in their home countries. Yet so far, they’ve done nothing about it.
Meanwhile, we reveal how doctors and hospital managers turn a blind eye to health tourism estimated to cost taxpayers up to £3billion a year.
While other countries impose rigorous checks, visitors to Britain are routinely granted ‘free’ treatment to which they are blatantly unentitled – with managers only too happy to charge the NHS, so as to avoid having to chase up money from foreigners who can’t or won’t pay.
Indeed, only a quarter of those who abuse the service are flagged up; of these, just 15 per cent pay.
No wonder patients in need of expensive operations flock to Britain, while pregnant women fly in from around the world to have their babies on the NHS.
With unthinking self-righteousness, many doctors who dish out NHS numbers to all-comers say it is not their job to check patients’ entitlements, but merely to heal the sick. Others, disgracefully, accuse whistleblowers of racism.
Yet they’re colluding in a massive fraud against taxpayers, while placing an intolerable burden on an NHS so short of funds that it denies life-prolonging drugs to British cancer victims.
After the launch of our investigation, ministers have at last vowed to close the loophole that allows EU citizens who have never lived or work worked here to charge us for treatment they have at home.
But this can only be the start of the long-promised crackdown on every aspect of health tourism. The job won’t be done until the world gets the message that the ‘N’ in NHS stands for National.
“The scale of this is astounding and it’s a disgrace when UK ‘nationals’ are already seeing major problems with social and health care broadcast day by day”