On the morning of Wednesday April 5th, Migrants Organise joined an action organised by campaign group ‘Docs not Cops’ to protest plans to introduce upfront charging for care throughout the NHS. We helped set up a makeshift immigration checkpoint outside the Department of Health (DoH) in Westminster, along with doctors, nurses, medical students and NHS patients.
We joined this action to protest new measures that will require NHS trusts to check patients’ eligibility upfront and demand payment before providing secondary care. This will leave large numbers of sick and vulnerable migrants in the UK unable to access basic healthcare.
The action is part of a wider response against the Government’s ‘Hostile Environment’ policy that seeks to make normal life impossible for migrants living in the UK by denying them access to basic services on an equal basis. This policy is being implemented across society. It requires educational institutions, healthcare providers, landlords and employers to check immigration status, thereby turning them into de facto immigration officers. This has been shown to lead to an increase in racial profiling.
For more photos from the event, please click here.
To contribute to this work, please contact Docs Not Cops directly or email Akram at Migrants Organise: firstname.lastname@example.org
According to Docs not Cops:
“The Government positions this as a cost-saving measure, the figures don’t add up. The DoH’s own estimate is that ‘deliberate health tourism’ costs only 0.03% of the NHS budget annually. Docs not Cops believe this policy will lead to discrimination and racial profiling, and will destroy patients’ relationship with NHS workers.
These checks will prevent those most in need of care from getting the treatment they need. This is already evident in the case of pregnant migrant women, where some destitute refugee women are being frightened away from maternity services due to NHS trusts issuing letters demanding payment of thousands of pounds. Docs not Cops, a group formed by NHS workers and patients to combat racism in the NHS, encourage all healthcare workers to sign up to their pledge to refuse to comply with the new policy.
We believe no one should be afraid to access the healthcare they need, either because they can’t pay or might be punished, and that NHS workers should not be forced to police the people they treat.