Friday, July 19, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Government confirms it is "not able to make a reliable estimate" on so-called health tourism in Britain

The British Government has recently launched a consultation about introducing charges for the use of the NHS by non-British individuals. This is part of an effort to combat alleged "health tourism" costing the UK from anywhere from £12 million to over a billion pounds each year.

But is this true?

The Guardian ran a recent piece examining the numbers here.

However, it appears that the UK Government does not, in fact, have evidence of health tourism. This was uncovered in a written question presented to the Home Office by the Revd Lord (Roger) Roberts, a Liberal Democrat Peer. He asks:

"To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evidence they have about the impact of health tourism on the NHS budget."

The Government's reply is striking. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Quality) for Health, the Conservative Peer Earl Howe states:

So it now appears -- confirmed days after Hunt's original claims -- that the Government, in fact, has no real evidence of health tourism nor can it offer any official view on what it might cost, if anything.
Saying one thing to grab headlines, but then hoping no one - such as the sleuth-like Lord Rogers - will uncover that the Emperor has no clothes (or at least none they can confirm). Surprising? Not from this Government....

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