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UK visitors must have health insurance to see GP, says UKIP

Health insurance must be made compulsory for tourists and migrants so that GPs do not waste time checking whether patients are entitled to free care, UKIP has announced.

UKIP health spokesperson, Louise Bours MEP, said Government plans to make GPs check patients have a European Health Insurance Card – which Pulse revealed will be piloted in ten areas across the country – will reduce the amount of time GPs can spend seeing patients.

Ms Bours said: ‘The government should not be using doctors as border guards. GP appointments are already like gold-dust in some areas, and this will reduce the amount of time doctors can see patients even further.

‘They only way to ensure everyone gets the treatment they are entitled to is to introduce compulsory health insurance for anyone visiting Britain. If someone need[s] emergency treatment, clearly they will get it, this is more about people with conditions that require on-going or long term treatment.

‘This would save the NHS the huge amounts it loses to health tourism each year, and could be spent on improving the NHS for everyone.’

Readers' comments (7)

  • Who would have thought UKIP maybe the only party who makes sense on this?
    It makes better sense for patients to get a Health Insurance (NHS can subcontract to existing Insurers) when applying for VISA to this country. All of us do it for other contries when we book tickets or VISA. I do same even for Europe even though I have EHIC card.
    This is the appropriate place to do it rather than at the GP surgery when patients are presenting when ill and it presenst a moral dilemma.
    Also if we ask for EHIC we will have to ask everyone. Imagine asking people with non local accent alone- Then people who are Citizens but have different accents-will feel victimized. If you ask everyone including locals one makes a laughing stock of himself/herself ans waste of precious time when we are hard pressed to deliver healhcare leave alone policing.
    Can`t see the present scheme panning out well. In fact may backfire for the Tories before the election!

    I like to see if Tories would like Jeremy Hunt`s wife being asked if she has immigration papers when they go to A&E or EHIC card for Nick Clegg`s wife or Prince Philip for that matter.

    The other solution is NHS photo id card but it would be expensive and may not maynot be cost effective.

    COI-Overseas born, British Citizen myself

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  • Problem is, pre-arranged VISA is not required for many foreign visitors - most can obtain visitor's visa at airport. If you restrict it too much, it will start to hit on tourist industry, resulting in over all deficit for UK.

    Given the information sharing, it might be expensive but perhaps a better solution for all eligible patients to hold a NHS card which also can contain their basic health information too.

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  • I'm afraid this just demonstrates the problem of ignorant politicians prescribing what the solution is.

    Having insurance or not, is not the problem. Once we decide to charge someone we take cash, whether they have insurance to claim against is no concern of ours.

    The problem is determining whether or not they are entitled to NHS treatment in the first place. Anyone can walk in, claim to have just moved into the area and register, or be temp resident or immediately necessary. We rely on the visitors from overseas being honest and telling us.

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  • "The problem is determining whether or not they are entitled to NHS treatment in the first place. Anyone can walk in, claim to have just moved into the area and register, or be temp resident or immediately necessary. We rely on the visitors from overseas being honest and telling us."


    A perfect summary of the problem. I'm not going to vote for UKIP but could I vote for you instead?

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  • "The problem is determining whether or not they are entitled to NHS treatment in the first place. Anyone can walk in, claim to have just moved into the area and register, or be temp resident or immediately necessary. We rely on the visitors from overseas being honest and telling us."

    ....a good argument in support of making people pay to see a GP including overseas visitors. Plenty of folk resident in the UK could apply for exemption..overseas visitors would not have this option. Might have a knock on effect of making some people appreciate what they're getting a little more

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  • It really is simple, but there are too many pathetic people out there-GPs and patients who whine about carrying cards.
    In Canada , its simple- you show your "card"- it varies in its type by Province -and you get seen/treated without paying.
    All new patients to us must present their card- ( since we are fee for service it's vital to us), and when I send them for X-rays/lab work, they not only need their requisition from me, they must again present their card. Same for hospital/specialist visits.
    BC has now merged the Health card with driving licences, those who do not drive , continue to have a Health card.I'm sure forgeries happen, but given most GPs have a closed list, it would only happen once- if my bill is refused, I want to know why!! Walking clinics would be similarly alerted.Another great reason for the UK GP system to go fee for service- GPs would be paid more but it would save far more!
    Everyone knows they need it, everyone carries it, no-one complains about showing it. No-one wants to pay, so the incentive is there!!!
    I rarely see new patients now as I have a closed list, but on the rare occasion I do, I have no problems asking for payment before being seen. Out of country travellers almost always have insurance and will just claim it back.

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  • Lucky 3:34; Envy you having been able to close your list. Reflects positively on your LMC and NHSE Area Team.

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