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Don’t blame immigrants for the NHS crisis

Your story ‘Three-quarters of GPs support upfront charges for foreign visitors accessing care’ implies that most GPs agree with charging visitors. But the view that ‘foreigners’ are responsible for the crisis in the NHS is erroneous, when the truth is that the crisis in the health service has nothing to do with foreign visitors and everything to do with the unrelenting cuts and push to privatisation undertaken by this and previous governments.

GPs are against acting as agents of border control, as demonstrated at last year’s LMCs Conference, which voted that GPs should not become embroiled in immigration issues. GPs and practice staff are overwhelmed already and do not have the capacity to take on this extra work even if paid to do so.

NHS costs for treating visitors is relatively small and likely to be expensive and difficult to recover.

Restricting health care has public health implications if people with infectious diseases, for example, or potentially serious conditions, do not present early for treatment. There are risks of cross infection and costs escalating if a patient worsens and needs more intensive treatment.

Migrants are a net benefit to the health service; many of them work in it often on very low wages and keep a hard pressed service going.

It is time to stop looking for convenient scapegoats and lay the blame for the fragmentation and underfunding of the NHS at the door of those really responsible: the coalition, the prime minister, Jeremy Hunt and Andrew Lansley before him.


Dr Jackie Applebee, GP, Unite representative on the GPC and chair Tower Hamlets LMC

Dr Ron Singer, retired, GP, and chair of the doctors’ section of Unite the Union

Dr Deborah Colvin, GP, Hackney and Unite representative on the, GPC

Dr Fay Wilson, GP, Birmingham and member of the GPC

Dr Kambiz Boomla, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Pam Martin, GP, Peckham

Dr Ben Hart, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Nicola Hagdrup, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Coral Jones, GP, Hackney

Dr Tim Dowson, GP, Newcastle

Dr Helen Murrell, GP, Newcastle

Dr Helen Groom, GP, Gateshead

Dr Anna Livingstone, GP, Tower Hamlets

Prof Aneez Esmail, GP, Manchester

Dr Mary Edmonson, retired GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Louise Irvine, GP, Lewisham

Dr David Wrigley, GP, Cumbria

Dr Jack Czauderna, retired GP, Sheffield

Dr Jonathan Fluxman, GP, Harrow

Dr Patrick French, consultant in HIV North Medicine, London

Dr Oppi Pillai, GP, Edmonton

Dr Wendy Ross, GP, Newcastle

Dr Pam Wortley, retired GP, Sunderland

Prof Martin McKee CBE, consultant in public health, London

Prof Allyson Pollock, consultant in public health, East London

Prof Raj Bhopa, Public Health Edinburgh Migration, Ethnicity and Health Research Group

Prof Michel Coleman, Professor of Epidemiology, London

Dr Kailash Chand OBE, GP, Stalybridge

Dr Chandra Kanneganti, GP, Stoke-on-Trent and chair British International Doctors Association

Dr Grant Ingrams, GP, Coventry member GPC, chair Coventry and Warwickshire BMA

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, GP, Truro, executive lead BMA, GPs’ committee

Dr Eric Watts, consultant Haematologist Brentwood and chair of Doctors for the NHS

Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, clinical senior lecturer in public health, Liverpool

Dr Mary McCarthy, GP, Shrewsbury and member, GPC

Dr Richard Vautrey, GP, Leeds

Dr Clive Peedell, consultant oncologist, South Tees

Dr Helena McKeown, GP, Salisbury member BMA Council, GPC, RCGP Council

Dr Julia Nelki, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Cheshire

Dr Huw Williams, GP registrar, Cardiff

Dr Helen Salisbury, GP, Oxford

Dr Michael Gopfert, psychiatrist, Liverpool

Dr Brendan O’Reilly, retired GP, Glamorgan

Dr Stephanie Franz, GP, Bristol

Dr Gill Turner, paediatrician, Hexham

Dr Jim Cole, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr. Richard Newell, GP, Bingley

Dr V Goodge, GP, Hereford

Dr Nigel Speight, paediatrician, Durham

Dr Peter Fisher, retired consultant physician, Shrewsbury

Dr Joe Manners, GP, Oxford

Dr John Puntis, paediatrician, Leeds

Dr Gene Feder, GP, Bristol

Dr Tessa Katz, GP, Hackney

Dr Jude Danby, GP, Bradford

Dr Annie Stork, GP, Edmonton

Dr Penny Schofield, retired GP, Newcastle

Dr Sheila Cheeroth, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Paul Revell, consultant haematologist, Stafford

Dr Elisabeth Paul, GP, Lewisham

Dr Alison Johnston, GP, Ulverston

Dr Carol Norris MBE, retired consultant physician, Galashiels

Dr Dianne LeFevre, retired consultant psychiatrist, Hackney

Dr Spyridon Symniakou, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Peter Draper, retired public health consultant, London

Dr Paul Hobday, retired GP, Maidstone

Dr John Robson, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Ceri Dornan, retired GP, Didsbury

Dr Adam Skinner, GP, Kent

Dr David Knight, GP, Northholt

Dr Andrew Green, GP, East Yorkshire, member, GPC

Dr Gill Beck, GP, Aylesbury member, GPC

Dr Sarah Divall, GP, Woolwich

Dr Fiona Sanders, GP, Haringey

Dr George Farrelly, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Alison Smailes, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Robbie Foy, GP, Leeds

Dr Lis Davidson, GP, Liverpool

Dr Miriam Frank, retired consultant in anaesthesia

Dr Fiona Ford MBE, GP, Accrington

Dr Gavin Young, retired GP, Cumbria

Dr Sam Wessely, GP, New Cross

Dr Richard de Souza, GP, Portslade

Dr David Knight, GP, Northolt

Dr Karen Bevan-Mogg, GP, Lewisham

Dr Adrian Hamlyn, consultant physician, Stourbridge

Dr Martha Leigh, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Phil Jones, consultant intensivist, East London

Dr Alan Lee, retired consultant psychiatrist, Nottingham

Dr Ben Robinson Psychiatrist South London

Dr Shabbir Ahmed, GP, manchester

Dr Sally Higginbottom, GP, Camden

Dr Rob Barr retired, GP, Cumbria

Dr David Watt retired, GP, Newham

Dr Maggie Eisner, GP, Bradford

Dr Marek Koperski, GP, Kentish Town

Dr Stephanie Franz, GP, Bristol

Dr Patrick Zentler-Munro, retired physician, Oxford

Dr Mark Aitken, consultant physician, Colchester

Dr Gary Drybala, retired consultant psychiatrist, Rutland

Dr Mark Waters, GP, Hereford

Dr Mary G Harrington, consultant, Geriatrician

Dr Caroline Palme, retired GP, Lancashire

Dr Frances Diffley, GP, Southwark

Dr Julia Hodges, GP, Southwark

Dr Joanna Newell, GP, Leeds

Dr Phillip Bennett-Richards, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Tim Fenn, GP, Edmonton

Dr Laurence Blumberg, GP, Hackney

Dr Ruth Silverman, GP, Hackney

Dr Sara Wraigh, GP, Cumbria

Dr Ingrid Franklin, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Paul Hobday retired, GP, Kent

Dr Nadja van Ginneken, GP, Liverpool

Dr Shamira Bhikha, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, consultant chest physician, London

Dr Richard Ma, GP, Islington

Dr John Caldwell, GP, Liverpool

Dr Anne Urquhart, GP, Kent

Dr Christopher Odedun, emergency medicine, north east London

Dr Gail Young, retired GP, Newcastle

Dr Tom Yates, epidemiologist, London

Dr Surinder Singh, GP, South London

Dr Robert MacGibbon retired GO Suffolk

Dr Bryony Kendall, GP, Liverpool

Dr Jienchi Dorward, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Rhiannon Allen, core medicine, London

Ms Shohreh Beski, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, east London

Dr Ann Sandison, consultant histopathologist, west London

Dr Joyce Leeson,c onsultant in public health, Manchester

Dr Joan Platford, GP, Bristol

Dr Nick Mann, GP, Hackney

Dr Saibal De, GP, north east London

Dr C J.Burns Cox, Gloucester

Dr Stephen Olczak, consultant endocrinologist, Linconshire

Dr David Lewis, GP, Liverpool

Dr Jonathan Folb, consultant microbiologist, Liverpool

Dr Iain Cameron, consultant psychiatrist, Sunderland

Dr Miriam Beeks, GP, Hackney

Dr Rebecca Redwood, GP, Hackney

Dr Louise Vaughan, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Hisham Al-Qassab consultant physician/geriatrician, Goodmayes

Dr Ian A A Tod, GP

Dr Saadi Hasan, GP, Hereford

Dr Chris Johnstone, GP, Paisley

Dr Sally Mitchison, retired consultant psychiatrist, Newcastle

Dr Jonathan Coates, GP, Newcastle

Dr Mike Fitchet, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Adam Sandel, GP, Cumbria

Dr Nicola Weave, GP, Newcastle

Dr Sarah Maxwell, consultant microbiologist, Stockport

Prof John Feehall, Nephrologist, Leicester

Dr Ruth Taylor, GP, Hackney

Dr Peter M B English, consultant in public health, Epsom

Dr Sabina Hussain SR public health, London

Dr Helen Zealley, retired consultant, in public health Scotland

Dr Dow Smith, GP, Newcastle

Dr Douglas Green, GP, Hackney

Dr Dianne Le Fevr, retired consultant psychiatrist, North London

Dr Anne Solomon, GP, Hackney

DR Susan O’Halloran, retired consultant paediatrician, Ormskirk

Dr Rob Chapman retired, GP, Cheshire

Dr Lennie Read, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Lucy Potte, GP, Bristol

Dr Pat Munday, retired consultant genitourinary physician

Dr Victoria Hol, GP, North London

Dr Terri Eynon, GP, Leicestershire

Dr Malila Noone, retired consultant Microbiologist, London

Dr Isabel Hodkinson, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Richard Gunstone, retired consultant physician, Coventry

Dr Neeru Garg, GP, Manchester

Mike Beadsworth, infectious diseases consultant, Liverpool

Dr Naomi Beer, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Jonathan Broad, junior doctor, Torbay

Dr Charlotte. Hattersley, GP, Yorkshire

Sangeeta Rana-Masson, GP, Tower Hamlets

Dr Lucy Ward, GP, Enfield

Dr Iain Maclennan Retired, GP, and public health, Isle of Wright

Dr Philip Posne, GP, Kentish Town

Dr Nick Price, GP, Bradford

Dr Donatella Soldi, community paediatrician

Dr Sarah Williams, GP, Hackney

Dr Martin Schweiger, consultant in communicable disease Leeds

Dr Penelope Jarret, GP, Lewisham

Dr Louise Duncan, GP, Newcastle

Dr Paul Julian, GP, Hackney

Dr Jillian Creasy, GP, Sheffield

Dr Krishan Bhanot, GP, Kent

Dr Mary Logan, GP, North East London