Tonight’s Panorama was an excellent expose of “soft touch Britain” which we have talked about on this site. They developed work by MPs like Chris Skidmore and Henry Smith who have exposed some of the detail of the ways the NHS is now no longer the National HS but the International HS, offering free services to people from all round the world. It was a good example of how the BBC standing up for taxpayers can make a great programme which is most useful – it’s just a pity they stand up for taxpayers so infrequently.
The programme showed how anyone can register for free treatment with a GP; how illegals and fictitious people could register and obtain potential access to hospital treatment where they are meant to pay; demonstrated that the Uk issues cards to false applicants for European health Insurance where UK taxpayers have to pay for treatments using them; fails to collect much money from European governments for all the reciprocal treatments we supply here; and how the UK has a bad deal with the Republic of Ireland over treatment for retired people.
Anna Soubry, the Health Minister, just kept saying to each scandal that they were reviewing the situation. We offered the Health Department a 10 minute rule Bill recently, thanks to Henry Smith MP, which would have helped plug the gap. They declined to adopt it. The Minister had no explanation of why recent guidance has said GPs should offer free registration to anyone who asks, and no answer to hospitals who rely on the fact of GP registration to act as a passport for hospital treatment to which the people are not entitled.
Whe Parliament is back MPs will be pursuing this matter again. We are talking about hundreds of millions of pounds of loss to the NHS in these various ways. Ms Soubry needs to raise her game, and show some urgency and some sympathy for long suffering taxpayers who foot the bill for this injustice. I did talk to her privately when she was first appointed and said to her this was the number one concern of many about the finances of the NHS.