World Health Service or National Health Service?

In the last Parliament I raised the issue of overseas visitors coming to the UK to get free treatment. Ministers told me they were taking action to stop any abuse of our system. This week the Daily Mail has revealed that a person could come to the UK from another EU country, register with a GP, then return to that other country and claim UK money for the costs of any treatment there. It is good that the government wishes to stop this theoretical possibility. I doubt much of that is happening, and the figures for how much the UK has to pay the countries mentioned implies this is not a big loss at the moment. It is part of a much wider set of questions.

In order to run a National Health Service rather than a free service for the world Ministers need to ensure the following happens:

1. No visitor from outside the EU to the UK can have free access to non emergency health care. Visitors should be advised to come with insurance, and told they will be billed for any treatment they need whilst they are here. Panorama ran a programme showing that there have been scams with visitors obtaining expensive operations whilst staying in the UK for non urgent conditions. GPs should decline to register temporary visitors as NHS patients and should see them privately and charge the consultation to the patient or the insurance company. NHS hospitals should not offer free treatment to anyone who is not registered with an NHS GP, other than emergencies. They too should bill any overseas visitor needing treatment.

2. No visitor or worker from the rest of the EU should receive free treatment on the NHS without the GP or hospital filling in a claim form for the costs to be recharged to the country of origin of the individual concerned. Other countries are better at sending the UK the bills for our citizens needing treatment abroad, than we have been acting the other way. There is an agreed system for recharges.

I am writing again to Ministers to see how much progress has been made with enforcing these commonsense rules over access to care free at the point of use.

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  1. Cheshire Girl
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Every time something like this surfaces we hearing soothing noises from the Government to advise us that ‘something is being done’ or they have ‘got a grip’. I am convinced the true scale of this problem ( like many others) is being hidden from us. Everything seems to be out of control. I would be interested to hear what they have got to say in reply to your letter, if at any time you wish to disclose it.

    • Timaction
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      We also have a Government that is more interested in taxing us to give it away to the EU for foreign infrastructure and farmers and foreign aid. Are not serious about protecting our people or our borders. Giving away our health and public services to anyone who chips up here. HIV treatment anyone? Whilst the English are shoved to the back of the queue.
      Political correctness and mass migration is killing our Country and they know it!

      • Timaction
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        So its reported in the Daily Mail and Breitbart London today that not only has this scandal of free health care been going on for years but that Senior NHS Managers knew about it and so did Government Ministers who did nothing about it. It’s a problem for people from everywhere regardless of Country of origin. It is a scandal and heads should roll. Why on earth are English people being taxed to pay for foreign peoples health care? It is not beyond the wit of man to sort this mess out. It appears that political correctness once more got in the way!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

          It does seems to be beyond the wit of the UK government.

        • yosarion
          Posted August 12, 2015 at 12:12 am | Permalink

          Watched a program on these lines some ten years ago, they interviewed the Doctors who were treating these people, almost all interviewed said it was their policy to treat first and it was not their job to collect fees for service. I would say this is the same problem today Doctors not accountable for who they are treating.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 12, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          It is fair to say that our government is responsible for the deaths of our people.

          Where life extending treatment has been denied because of cost. And then we find that the government knew all along that NHS funds were being pilfered in such a way and concealed the truth from the public.

          I find myself being shocked every day, more than I thought ever possible, at the way in which this country is run.

          Why do we need a government at all ? It couldn’t be any worse, surely ?

  2. alte fritz
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    If a loophole, either in the rules or their application, exists which permits people to gain financial benefit then, as night follows day, it will be exploited. If the loss to the taxpayer is too small to bother about, then amend the rules so the practice becomes legitimate. If, then close the loophole. Not that difficult.

    • Boudicca
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Oh it is “too difficult.” I expect the loophole is related to the taxpayer-funded NHS when compared to the insurance-based systems in use elsewhere across the EU …. and the EU’s rules (as usual) are not designed to fit our system.

      So getting the loophole changed will probably require a change in the EU Treaties – and we all know high likely that is.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Indeed and they should surely be billed (after the event) also for emergency treatment. Unless perhaps they are truly unable to pay anything but even then you should be billed in case you can pay later. I suspect the NHS is so poorly organised that they cannot even cope with a simply billing system.

    I would tend to charge everyone something anyway. If you can pay for a hair cut you can pay £20 for each visit to a doctor, £100 for an ambulance and say £200 for each visit to a hospital. A very few, who really cannot pay should be given help or have it deducted later from income. Free at the point of rationing, delay and often death is no way to run the NHS.

    There was also the suggestion in the Mail that as many as 2000 people a year a dying from faulty or poorly fitted pacemakers. This on top of those who die due to the second rate service offered by the NHS at weekends and from general negligence, unacceptable delays and the likes.

    One hospital was keeping people waiting up to five money just for cancer and other scan results. Surely even a week is far too long. How can the government allow them to be run so appallingly? Was it not Cameron’s sound bite priority in three letters?

    I have only needed the NHS (for anything serious) twice in my life. Once for my appendix and once for an infected gall bladder problem. Both were misdiagnosed more than one. Both can have a very high mortality rate when not treated properly and promptly.

  4. lojolondon
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    John, on a related note – we in the UK keep importing health workers to fulfil NHS needs – it seems like there is absolutely no plan to create skills locally! This is totally indefensible – we go to poor countries like South Africa, India, etc. where people are highly trained at local government expense to fulfil health needs of these countries. We offer graduates more money to move and they do, robbing the local population of their healthcare. There is no doubt that people are dying due to this policy. Meanwhile British youngsters are denied a job and a chance to learn. I feel this is totally immoral, and should be halted forthwith.

    Reply There are training and recruitment programmes to try to get more local applicants.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply, not good enough. There are plenty of Brits capable of these jobs if offered a place on the training courses, that we are importing workers is a scandal.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Iain Gill

        Not so. The problem isn’t a lack of UK training places its a total lack of applicants for the training.

        Since making nursing a degree qualification the applicants for the training have dried up. Who wants to run up £40k debts to get a job as a junior nurse?

        • Dame Rita Webb
          Posted August 12, 2015 at 6:21 am | Permalink

          “employment experts” such as yourself need to get their basic facts correct, have a read of this

          PS What are your views on the employment prospects for this years IT graduates?

          • libertarian
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            Dame Rita Webb

            Yes I know you can get finance options, you can get finance options & funding for all kinds of degree courses .

            My data collected from real world employers on IT graduates is that IT isn’t a single subject so it depends on what has been studied. Digital engineering, coding, management information systems , IT Architecture, Infrastructure , Service Management, engineering etc are all jobs with fairly high demand, some skills more than others. As with all graduates now though its not about the qualifications alone its about the work attitude too. A huge number of graduates in IT related technologies aren’t actually going into the workforce at all, they are going the business start up route. Why do you ask?

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

            As ever Libertarian showing his profound lack of understanding of the IT business and jobs market. Staggering.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            Iain Gill

            Oh dear Mr Gill

            I’ve worked in IT for nearly 40 years, I own a multimillion pound software company and I datamine employment data

            You’re (out of date ed)

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted August 12, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink


          The same could be said for many clerical and selling jobs that now list a degree at the top of the requirements.

    • stred
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply.It would help if a practical nursing qualification could be set up again in which less academically inclined young people could learn caring nursing, without having learn essay writing etc, and qualify in 2 years, with on the job training full time. This would produce nurses equal to those from such countries as the Philippines, who are often more use than the academic ones, who often prefer management to care. Why the NHS and unions are not willing is a mystery. Perhaps because it is run by the latter.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink


        That is exactly the problem, you are correct

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      We spend a lot of money training nurses and doctors in this country and then once qualified, they leave for places like Canada and Australia. They should be made to stay for at least 10 years before they can take their skills elsewhere. The British taxpayer should get their services first. Our nurses are some of the best trained in the world but they owe their country first.

      • JoosB
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Why should doctors once graduated stay here when this government has decided to lumber them with £100,000 debts for the privilege of doing so (but only if they are English of course)? Many will take their skills to other parts of the world and in doing so, escape the debt and who can blame them. Any sensible government would offer free university tuition to STEMM subjects, just as Nigel Farage suggested – Science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine providing they keep their skills here once graduated. But it seems our politicians, who themselves paid nothing for their university education, aren’t interested in keeping our own home grown talent to run the NHS.

    • Margaret Brandreth-J
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately the State Enrolled Nurse whose job it was to be a bedside Nurse was phased out along with auxiliary nurses.
      The good news is that HCA’s or carers have taken over the basic very important duties.
      The state Registered Nurse . or more recently registered as a Registered Nurse requires more experience and a great knowledge of clinical/ medical issues and disease. We have lives in our hands ,we diagnose prescribe and use a life times knowledge to guide young Doctors and continue looking after patients in the community and hospital wards. The professions are interdependent.This is no different from when I started in 1968 when our text books were medical and surgical .We had exams all through our training and finals were assessed by hospital and state , including orals practicals and written. I still remember my orals in 1972 where I was asked to identify the cranial nerves , and test them all. I was asked about heart diseases, different groups of medications and more .What I wasn’t tested on were how to guard the Nurse and the NHS from being sued.
      People are always trying to bring false legal claims and blame all clinical staff to get a pay off which is why there is so much paper work.A Nurse cannot function without in depth clinical knowledge. The carers also need clinical knowledge and this has to be shown to be so on paper.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      There are lots of perfectly capable, would be doctors, who are refused places at medical schools.

    • miami.mode
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you Mercia.

      I well remember Dennis Skinner jumping up in the HoC fairly recently and saying how proud he was that a team that performed a recent operation on him came from around the world. I wish I could have asked him how proud he was that he had taken those skilled people from areas that desperately needed them.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 12, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Then go to Aus/NZ/Can and find hospitals staffed with British doctors and nurses.

        We can assume that our outgoing doctors are better than our incoming. Why ? Because Aus/NZ/Can operate a points (quality control) system and we don’t.

        The government repeatedly fails to perform and fails to deliver what the public has paid for.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Strange.In the run up to the last General election. Nigel Farage pointed this out and was called a zenophobe, racist, nazi ………………………………………

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Yes, and once again he has been proved right. I wish the media and other ministers would stop and think before they call him these derogatory names. We will all wish we had listened in a few more years when the present government has left us all up the creek without a paddle!! It is unbelievable that we cannot pay youngsters housing benefit or tax credits because we cannot discriminate between EU migrants and our own people. We have to get out before the EU system and its rules make us broke. They are doing a great job at the moment. The situation, as you say, John, with our NHS is dire. No wonder there is no money for urgent things such as cancer drugs, help for mental illness, dementia etc. What are we all paying for? I certainly don’t want to pay for people who don’t even live here and haven’t contributed. Unless the Tories really do get a grip I fear they may not last long. There are many issues which are not being addressed quickly enough or with conviction.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        The British political class are no longer there to represent our interests, they are there to represent Brussels interests to us. That is why they are seeking to rewrite who , of our people, we offer state support to, in order to accommodate Brussels demands of them.

        • Boudicca
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Precisely. Cameron isn’t OUR Prime Minister. He’s the EU’s representative in the UK.

          • Iain Moore
            Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

            We saw that with Cameron’s big immigration speech last year, where it was very clear what the British people wanted, thst being immigration control, but Cameron first had John Major go to the EU to see what they would permit. They told him it might be acceptable to make some changes on welfare, and this is what Cameron offered us in his big immigration speech. We weren’t represented, Brussels policy was represented to us.

    • Timaction
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Of course he was and is right. The msm are in cahoots with the legacy parties to supress the truth. Just take a walk around any City or major town near you and just listen. Then you’ll see our not so rosy future. Not my fault. I was one of the 4000,000 who didn’t vote for this!

      • Jerry
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction; “The msm are in cahoots with the legacy parties to supress the truth.”

        That would be why the MSM have been busy highlighting such abuse of the NHS [1] and why members of the legacy parties talk openly about the problem and even invite public comment upon it, such as here.

        Tell me, what has UKIP done, considering that they are the biggest single party of UK MEPs and thus as many opportunities to raise this issue at the EP level as the so called legacy parties – other than a lot of 100% proof hyperbole and PR stunts they do not seem to be very effective MEPs at all (on this or anything).

        [1] only yesterday in the Daily Mail, which is not exactly supportive of UKIP and Farage

        • Timaction
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          The legacy parties have known for years (2013 at least) about this scandal. Read the Mail today and Breitbart London. UKIP publicised this on their website as well and have made lots of comment. Nigel Farage was ridiculed for highlighting the truth! It’s only the Express, Breitbart and sometimes Russia Today that report UKIP comment. You need to widen your sources to gain an understanding of what’s really happening around you. Take the recent Five Presidents report on the significant changes proposed on the future of the EU. It’s on the EU website for the benefit of any newshound! How do you think that may impact any trifling renegotiation “Cast Iron” is proposing? Have you seen that reported on the BBC/ITV, Telegraph? No. It’s on UKIP’s website as is all the other news and they make comment. Also UKIP’s suggestions on how to deal with the Calais crisis that has serious security issues for the British people. Actually take some action, not follow events. Unfortunately UKIP is not in cahoots with most of the wealthy MSM. The Mail/BBC/Chanel 4 were outrageous in their propaganda coverage in the build up to the election. Only have to see the reporting post election to realise the legacies have more people far worse than any UKIP person!

          • Jerry
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

            Timaction; “The legacy parties have known for years (2013 at least) about this scandal.”

            As did UKIP…

            “Nigel Farage was ridiculed for highlighting the truth! It’s only the Express, Breitbart and sometimes Russia Today that report UKIP comment. [../more bleating/..]”

            An utter irrelevance on stilts, UKIP before 2014 and even more since “winning” the 2014 UK European elections could have (if they wanted it) the ear of the EP and Commission etc, they do not need the MSM bandwagon to raise this or any other issue at the EP level, Mr Farage is the EFDD (protest) group leader and that gives him amble opportunity (not necessarily on the EP floor).

            UKIP have done and still do nothing, as getting this or any EU related problem sorted would be a PR disaster for them sort of a Brexit, they need these problems to run no and on so that people like yourself still have something to bleat and campaign about. The reason the MSM do not report (most) EU ‘reports’ is because it is a nothingness for most people, how many UK governmental Green papers go unreported? too. So come back when UKIP achieve something, but be ready to admit that UKIP have or are in the process of making themselves irrelevant!

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        (unflattering words about a named place left out ed) Jerry, UKIP cannot do much all the time they only have one MP. It might help if they were given more media time and more press coverage. They could get the real facts out to more people. Instead, they are only put on at mainly obscure times and on programmes not watched by many people. When was the last time you saw Nigel Farage or anyone in a meaningful discussion on a mainstream programme? Maybe I missed it?

        Reply UKIP had plenty of airtime before the General Election, and have the most MEPs of any UK party.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          Even if every UK MEP were UKIP they would be totally powerless. MEP’s have little powers at all. They are just a pretence of a democratic veneer for the EU. Overpaid/pensioned and expensed to keep them on side.

        • Bob
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Permalink


          Even if the entire British contingent of MEPs wanted to they couldn’t change a thing and it’s disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise.

          I expect this kind of comment from Jerry, but not from you John.

          What do they do? Why don’t they block, argue against, make life difficult on the needless and undesirable proposals?

          • Bob
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            Dear Mr Redwood,

            “What do they do? Why don’t they block, argue against, make life difficult on the needless and undesirable proposals?”

            I presume this is your response to my reply? If so, it should have been contained in square brackets and signed JR)

            The answer to your question is that they do all those things you have suggested, but since they form only a small minority in the EU Parliament they cannot change legislation which emanates from the unelected Commissioners and is waved through by the majority of EUphile placemen in the EU Parliament.

            The real question is, why don’t the Tory MEPs stop sitting around like a bunch of nodding dogs and do what you have suggested above?

          • Jerry
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            @Bob; “Even if the entire British contingent of MEPs wanted to they couldn’t change a thing and it’s disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise.”

            Nonsense. If UKIP actually tried to work with the EP, with eurocrats, with other MEPs (beyond the EFDD protest grouping), rather than just annoy and/or obstruct, they could make a difference, there is no reason why even a single MEP can not change the opinion of the majority, or build a majority, but they have to have a credible problem, credible argument and credible solution – not keep being nay-sayers whilst standing halfway out the door, worst still entering the room just to be (often personally) abusive towards others, such behaviour makes for good partisan YouTube viewing but nothing else.

          • Bob
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink


            “If UKIP actually tried to work with the EP, with eurocrats”

            UKIP want self rule for the UK which cannot be achieved by collaborating with EUrocrats – leave that to Labour and the Tories.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

            @Bob; “UKIP want self rule for the UK which cannot be achieved by collaborating with EUrocrats”

            Then stop the partisan bleating about problems that UKIP have no interest in actually solving! How ever much some want a Brexit the country still need to live and work in the world as it is today. We can all promise “jam tomorrow” (next week, year, decade, what ever).

            The very real problem for UKIP, and the way Farage chooses to leads it, is that it might just be another party that gets seen by the electors as having the far nicer jam “come tomorrow”, because they have been seen willing to work with the EU to solve such current problems, whilst still working towards a Brexit (of some sort), not just -often rude- nay-sayers all the time…

          • Bob
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry You’re ranting again.

            The lack of border control is a direct result of EU membership.
            If we regain self rule – we regain control of our borders.

            I’m sure you can work it out if you give it some thought (although on second thought, perhaps not).

          • Jerry
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

            @Bob; “[Jerry] You’re ranting again.”#

            Is that what UKIP activists call their opponents when they the UKIP hammer firmly and squarely hit the activists thumb? What ever…

            “If we regain self rule – we regain control of our borders.”

            Yes I fully understand that, but will it be due to UKIP, probably not, at the moment Labour under the leadership of Mr Corbyn probably stands more chance!

    • Jerry
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      @Old Albion; It wasn’t what he claimed that was objected to but the language he used himself that caused and equal but opposite use of the same language. Other than for the Greens I seem to recall all parties accepted that the system was open to abuse.

      • Old Albion
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Nonsense! He said an individual had obtained treatment for HIV at our expense.
        Mentioning immigrants fraudulently getting expensive treatment from OUR NHS and Aids/HIV in one sentence seems to be forbidden by the PC police.

        • Timaction
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          Facts on HIV treatment on who gains treatment is in the Mail today. Over half of new treatments are for foreign born people. Large numbers getting kidney dialysis apparently at £200,000 a throw. A certain Mr Farage mentioned this sometime ago now and was given howls of derision by a left wing audience! Yet we have English people who have cancer treatments restricted!

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, I watched Farage and he is always polite and to the point. What he said is 100% correct and at the next election there will be UKIP with knobs on if this incompetent shower don’t liven up.

        • Timaction
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          We haven’t gone away!

      • David Price
        Posted August 12, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        He used very moderate language to describe a particular issue concerning misuse of NHS England resources. The three ladies present missed, or chose to miss, the point entirley and reacted by saying he should be ashamed.

        This was despite the fact that two of them had no skin in the game at all but represented other NHS organisations entirely.

        What was shameful was the attempt to close down and prohibit discussion of a worrysome issue.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 12, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          @David Price (and others with similar points);
          “[Mr Farage] used very moderate language”

          That is very much a matter of subjective opinion.

          He also fails to admit/acknowledge that long-term UK ex-pats also abuse the NHS, returning (often temporally) to the UK to get non emergency treatment, perhaps having discretionary/non-essential operations, they would otherwise have to pay good money for in their country of residence by choice whilst having not paid in to the UK system for years.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink


            Any evidence for you assertions? How do you know they didn’t pay in? Do you work for HMRC? Oh sorry I forgot you won’t tell us will you

          • Jerry
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            @libertarian; Yes I do know of people who have done so, but as they hold UK passports and still have (or can obtain) UK NI numbers etc. they have not broken any UK/EU rules or laws.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink


            Thats not evidence. come on you keep screeching at Lifelogic, provide some facts not hearsay

            Whats your job Jerry?

          • Jerry
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; “Whats your job Jerry?”

            That is as irrelevant as the names of the companies you claim to own/run, or even Mr Osborne’s actual given first name (and I do not mean that as a personal attack on him) – who actually cares, unless they think it will be a brickbat?

            “libertarian”, you really are getting awfully shrill in your attempt to “out” me, to prove what I have no idea, it says far more about your inability to debate the subjects put forward by our host, in this case the NHS, than it does anything of myself and my opinion/experience…

            Reply People do not have to say what they do for a living to contribute to this site, but it is odd when persistently asked by others that you are so reluctant. I urge tolerance of any legal job people have – there is no job snobbery here, so why not tell us.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

            @JR reply; “there is no job snobbery here, so why not tell us.”

            Two points, with some jobs, if coupled a real name, and intended or accidental clues on location can personally ID someone, this site is not a cosy country pub chat besides the inglenook on a quite Sunday, it is a fully searchable website on the internet with similar risks as saying something on Facebook etc. which is perhaps why someone like “libertarian” uses his/her alias, nor actually names the companies he/she owns/runs.

            Secondly what if someone states their job, but is then not believed, what has been gained other than what then becomes a sort of reverse job snobbery, and as I said the other day, experience and knowledge is not only a product of what an individual’s job is, it is the result of a whole lifetime.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 13, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


            You asked me , I told you what I do. I just told you the industries that I work in thats all. I didn’t ask you to tell us that you are a parking attendant for Woking Council. Finance or town planning or even NHS would be just fine

            To be honest I don’t really care what you do ( i think we could probably guess anyway)

            You however keep telling people that they don’t know what theyre talking about, you tried to belittle something I posted by telling everyone how well you understood TV transmission technology, you consistently dismiss people like LL for not having a scientific approach. Yet strangely you dont seem to want to let us know the source of your experience and knowledge

            If you agree as you say that experience is the product of a lifetime activity ( which I also agree with) how about you stop sneering, condemning and belittling people when they post their experiences. I know we can all be a bit rude to each other on here , thats political banter and discourse but unless you are prepared to put your hand up and admit what you do, like so many others on here have then it will weaken your credibility.

            You are of course right lots on here sneer at my knowledge of the employment field , however that doesn’t bother me as I know its true, I have the data to back up my arguments and people know the point of view i’m debating from and can structure their responses accordingly.

            So I guess we can draw our own conclusions.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 14, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; “To be honest I don’t really care what you do”

            Your increasingly shrill demands suggest otherwise.

            In have never actually hidden my general (engineering) trade, nor my general location, just what I now do, sometimes within a niche market (complete with NDAs).

            “how about you stop sneering, condemning and belittling people when they post their experiences.”

            Look! It’s dirty post and pans time again…

            Oh and just to expand on “experience and knowledge”, my extended family were involved in the UK and later international, electrical, (micro-)electronics and communications industry long before you (apparently) were libertarian – warts and all, so stop trying to gild any lilies on that score. My father also worked for a long standing City of London based group of companies, that went to rack and ruin during the dog-eat-dog days of mid to late ’80s Thatcherism, were the sanity of long standing experience gave way to the (IMO, clueless, up-start) rule of those new era of accountants schooled in “monetarism theory”, said company having survived all the cr*p that the State since the government of William Pitt could throw, several wars, the 1930s depression, never mind all that post war “Socialism”, union strikes and all. Oh and no that is not why I dislike Thatcherism, father was long retired by the time that particular companies boardroom wall became so messy.

            “So I guess we can draw our own conclusions.”

            Yes and my conclusions are, seeing that you refuse to name your companies, that you don’t actually own/run any. What does that do for your own creditability, unwilling to actually prove that you are who you are and that your knowledge is real. You castigate me for not “proving” that I know what I know, or why I hold the opinions I do, but then you refuse to prove your worth, whilst hiding behind a silly (and quite inappropriate, IMO) alias! What ever…

          • libertarian
            Posted August 14, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink


            Ha ha ha that really made me laugh thanks Jerry.

            First you spent ages trying to avoid telling us on the grounds that people wouldn’t believe you and would smear and belittle, then , THEN Jerry you go and do exactly that to me. Oh the irony.

            You’re entire pontificating post is a typical verbose attempt to avoid being specific , again the very thing you hypocritically accuse others of doing.

            Your family? Your extended family? Your fore bearers ? Blimey Jerry we are really scraping the barrel now aren’t we. Of course they’ve been doing things longer than me, your grandfathers far older than me, what an idiot statement.

            As to your very confused anti Thathcher rant, control yourself boy, it has absolutely nothing to do with what you were asked. You have quite the biggest chip on your shoulder I’ve ever seen

            1) The answer we required was just ” I’m an engineer “. Yet for some reason you couldn’t bring yourself to tell us.

            2) Oh grow up who cares about your NDA’s we didn’t ask for your cv just your general field of knowledge

            3) In what way is Jerry any more or less meaningful or identifiable than libertarian? Please explain

            4) At least by identifying my political principles in my user name you know where I’m coming from

            5) You do know that you completely contradicted yourself in your Thatcher rant don’t you? You said and I quote my father worked for a company during the dog eat dog days mid to late 80’s, a paragraph on you said thats not why I disliked Thatcherism father was long retired by then

            6) Why do you repeatedly add things not remotely connected to the question such as F1, William Pitt, Your father, grandfather etc etc It has nothing to do with the debate

            7) Not one single person ( quite rightly) has specifically named the company/organisation they work for on here, why should I? You haven’t . Hypocrite

            8) I wanted to know your field of operation so that I can judge the likely veracity of your contribution. You keep castigating people on here for not knowing things, being wrong or unscientific in their responses etc. You try to put people down by pretending to have superior knowledge ( most of which is cut and pasted from google). Yet you failed to respond when exactly the same level was demanded of you.

            9) Most of the other contributors have voluntarily told us their field of work or what they did before they retired.

            I think your frothing rant tells us all we need to know.

            Good luck with the F1 drive.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      @Mercia; “BBC audiences and commentators are biased and should be told that at every opportunity.”

      If you think the BBC is biased you need to watch U.S. FoxNews channel, which is available, uncensored, in the UK, thus its right-wing bias feeds directly into political opinion and perhaps issues within the UK [1] – but of course you probably do not think so, you might already watch the channel, you might not think it is biased as you agree with ever word…. Oh and let’s not even start to discuss the UK print media and bias. 🙁

      [1] for example it interviews Mr Farage but I suspect would be very unlikely to report remarks made by, or interview, the leader of the UK Greens, or Mr Corbyn (should he win the Labour leadership, which the BBC not only does but does so regularly.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 14, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink


        So you are agreeing with Mercia that the BBC is biased & pointing out that so is Fox news right?

        You identify the print media as being biased , blimey you don’t say

        Next you’ll be telling me that the Telegraph and Mail are Tory papers and the Mirror and Guardian are Labour papers.

        As Fox news is as you say a right wing channel what do you think on say a scale of Zero to Nothing are the chances that a leader of the Greens or Corbyn would accept an invitation to appear on Fox news?

        The BBC has it written in its charter that it MUST remain unbiased and neutral.

        There I think that cleared that up

        • Jerry
          Posted August 15, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          @libertarian; “The BBC has it written in its charter that it MUST remain unbiased and neutral.”

          But that is what the BBC are, and why people like you hate them. Those on the two sidelines of main stream politics here in the UK do not want an unbiased MSM, the right want a FoxNews style of reporting, whilst those on the left probably hanker after Russia Today.

          “There I think that cleared that up”

          Only if my comment, that you replied to, is twisted to mean something I did not say.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink


          More utter drivel from you.

          I have never said I hate the BBC and in fact i’ve actually done a fair amount of work with them over the years too.

          What part of pointing out that your answer to BBC bias was responded to by telling us that someone NOT the BBC is biased.

          You really do struggle with basics.

          By the way I did respond in depth to your childish rant above but our host as yet has not published it

  6. BigD
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    John, there would seem to be no incentive for hospital bosses to identify patients as health tourists as they cannot then reclaim the full cost of treatment from the Government & thus increase their debt. Maybe a crackdown on major hospitals close to airports would be a start. See:

  7. formula57
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Your phrase “…and the figures for how much the UK has to pay the countries mentioned implies this is not a big loss at the moment” is suggestive of never mind the principle, if the figures are not too large. Whilst you doubtless did not mean such a suggestion to be taken, it is one that seems too common when public finances are discussed and is perhaps the same attitude that allowed what must be the truly trivial sum of £3 million to be bestowed upon the Kids Company against the advice of officials.

    Reply I made clear I favour closing the loophole, as the government says it intends to do

    • bigneil
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      reply to reply – – -Intends? – -sounds as promising as CMD’s pledges. – PLUS – -years ago it was found that criminals were using dead babies details to claim benefits/get passports for illegal purposes/Import foreigners etc. A program in the last few days shows it is STILL being done, despite promises from the govt years ago that it would be stopped. Clearly it hasn’t, and as usual – the govt just carries on throwing our taxes away to anyone. Am I surprised? – no – because we “punish” illegally here foreign criminals who we have no idea about, by putting them in hotels and waiting on them. This country is the laughing stock of the world. Terrorists walk our streets in freedom, living off the taxes of the people they hate. more terror supporters walk in everyday – to a life of free everything.

      • Timaction
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        …………….and how many are being removed after months on free housing, food, clothing and £36 weekly pocket money?

      • DaveM
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely. This ridiculous situation is getting beyond a joke and making me quite angry.

        I voted for a govt that I hoped would introduce some kind of common sense, but still nothing happens. Nothing. I don’t enjoy paying taxes or NI but accept that it is necessary to take care of the less well off – this govt seems to just give it away to the undeserving and waste it as if it is a game. It’s got to stop.

        • ian wragg
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          We were all fooled but I think it’s the last roll of the dice. Never again will the people of this country be conned by empty promises.

          • Bob
            Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            @ian wragg

            “We were all fooled “

            I wasn’t fooled, it’s exactly what I expected from the Tories, fine words but no action.

            I predicted it.

  8. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    The problems you mention are more widespread than you think. When some arrive at Liverpool the information is inconsistent with information given elsewhere. I am bound to confidentiality therefore cannot be more explicit. Language difficulties are insuperable and if we have an interpreter for all the languages we have to deal with on tap , can you imagine the cost?

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink


      The simple answer to your language problem is for the patient to be responsible for arranging/organising translation.

      No translator present no treatment.

      Try going anywhere else in the World and expecting a translator to be provided free of charge.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        The same goes for all council/government services, all forms supplied in English, unless of course you are Welsh and you wish to waste money on everything in two languages…

    • stred
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      And that’s just the staff!

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      I worked in the Middle East for over 20 years and all official documents were in Arabic. We had to pay to get them filled in or translated. Not difficult.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 12, 2015 at 7:17 am | Permalink

        I worked in Thailand for a few years and apart from the Visa forms,which were an immigration cash cow so made as easy as possible, all interactions with officialdom had to be in Thai, written and verbal.

        The industry that grew up at the foreigners’ expenses was huge and though I could fill in the forms myself I was not permitted to. Everything had to be stamped by an official translator. In this country we have socialised what in Thailand is a private industry.

  9. agricola
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I reside in Spain and pay my taxes in Spain, having for many years paid taxes in England.
    For routine health care in Spain I have a Sistema Nacional de Salut card. If I travel within the EU including the UK I have a European Health Insurance card for treatment in any EU country I find myself in. This latter card is issued by an office in Newcastkle on Tyne.

    I am not privy to who gets billed for all this but suspect it is the UK in my case.

    I believe that EHI cards are issued by your country of nationality, not your country of residence. EU immigrants to the UK should have a card issued by their country of origin. If they are being given cards by the Newcastle Office they are conning the system. This I find surprising because one could think that doctors and most health workers are intelligent people not prone to being scammed in such a way. The medical profession possibly need a reminder, countersigned by them to the effect that they understand their own system.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      @agricola: I imagine that health insurance companies (or, in the UK case, the NHS) pay the bills, so it depends where you have your health insurance.
      Will that be the NHS for UK citizens, while they live abroad?

      • agricola
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        PvL. I suspect, though I do not categorically know, that the NHS pay the Spanish health authorities for my routine health care in Spain. If I have a problem in Germany I use my European Health Insurance card to reassure the services I use in Germany that they will be paid by the NHS.

        A Spanish citizen working in the UK obtains the self same European Health card from the Spanish authorities and presents it to the NHS to obtain any required treatment. I assume the NHS obtain the cost of the treatment from Spain.

        This is one of those areas where it makes sense to cooperate country with country even after we leave the political EU. Air Traffic Control and licencing of aircrew make a lot of sense too , and I am sure there are many many others. Trade, Friendship, and Cooperation are what I would want for the UK from the EU. Those of us who have experience of European grand design have a preference for our own imperfect democracy.

        • acorn
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps we could have the same system for welfare benefit claims?

          A European welfare Insurance Card (EWIC). The same recharging procedure as the EHIC, which covers the UK; EEA and Switzerland. (Notice once again; the Swiss are in on the goodies of the EU, but don’t get stuck with the inconvenience of being a member of the thing.)

          For none-members of the EHIC / EWIC club, the invoice should go directly to the appropriate Directorate of the European Comission; that’ll **** ’em.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

            A fine idea

        • miami.mode
          Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          Hola agricola

          The UK EHIC is only issued to UK residents and it states quite unequivocally on their website – “the main applicant must be ordinarily resident in the UK” You are obviously part of the problem!

          • agricola
            Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

            I am afraid you are incorrect.

            I first spoke to the Centro de Salud who told me that from now on you apply to the country of your nationality. I spoke to the department in Newcastle at the end of February 2015. They confirmed what the Spanish had told me was correct and posted a renewal form to my Spanish address. They would not have done so had it not been legal. The card arrived within a week of me returning the application.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Nope EHIC cards are tied to country of residence not nationality. So for instance Brits who have been working in Australia for years are not entitled to free NHS when coming back for some crazy reason, and supposedly wouldn’t get a card either. On the other hand lots of other nationalities normally resident in the UK are entitled to EHIC cards.

  10. JimS
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    When away from my home I have used ‘drop-in’ centres in the UK that provide a GP-like service.

    No-one has ever asked for my NHS number or any proof of residence. I have been asked to fill in a form but were the details checked? In that I have sometimes been seen by a doctor within five minutes of arrival I doubt it.

    • Ex-expat Colin
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Where are they Jim. In the W. Mids its 7 days at least. So I could drive there and holiday on the way to or back?

      I always wondered as an expat what happened to the paperwork here when I saw a doctor on visit from overseas. I paid Rate 3’s into the UK pot…for something or other?

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Class 3 NI is for UK pension only. I paid this and tax on my rental income for over 25 years. When we returned on a permanent basis in 1997 they wouldn’t let me or my wife register with a doctor until we had been back a year.
        I sent my local practice a letter through my solicitor threatening court action as at the time (and still is) all and sundry from around the world were entering the country and registering.
        I was registered within days.

      • JimS
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Solihull hospital drop-in centre has waiting times of 30 minutes with no appointments. The key words are ‘drop-in’.

  11. Iain Moore
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Well, well , well, another problem that has at its heart the failure of border control. Who would have thought it of the British political establishment? Time for a forthright announcement from a Minister that they are going to have yet another crackdown no doubt.

    I think we have had more crackdowns than illegals deported , may be one day Minsters will figure out they are there to do, not just say they will do.

  12. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Don’t quite understand why its a ministers job. The system has been configured with the appropriate rules surely? Isn’t this a simple manager task? Seems there are plenty employed to be …managers.

    It might be a minimal problem and as you say lays with a pile of other related problems. And its costing us all the time along with the harassment of HMRC gathering monies on its behalf. Every time I complete a tax return I often wonder where that money is to be wasted. Part of modern Britain..a Victorian clerk could do better.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Whilst I understand our original concept of the Welfare State when it was set up, it is surely now clear to everyone, that its present rules and so called safeguards are completely unfit for the modern world, where it would seem fewer and fewer people want to play by those rules, but instead want to maximise personal benefit at anyone else’s expense.

    With instant communication, cheap travel, official forms (which appear easy and cheap to reproduce/forge) we now live in a World where the claim culture is very big business.

    With cheap travel people movement is easy, with free movement of people within certain areas it is even easier.
    Identity theft is also now a very large criminal business which also complicates security measures.

    Me thinks it is time for an extensive and comprehensive overhaul of all of our Welfare, Benefit, and Healthcare systems, and entitlements, given the ease with which it seems it is possible to defraud them.
    At the same time perhaps we can have a proper National Health Service, rather than the post code lottery which appears to be the situation in so many cases.

    The original concept was good and well meaning and the vast majority of people played by the rules, now we are in a completely different situation where it would seem vast numbers of people are defrauding and abusing the system simply because its easy and they can.

    The latest exposure is damaging for a number of reasons.
    1. It appears it was so simple.
    2. The officials it would seem were completely unaware of it going on.
    3. Invoices from abroad were simply paid without any checking or verification.
    4. The range of treatments were not even emergency treatments.

    It makes me angry that needy people who need certain treatment/drugs here (and who have paid into the system for years) are being denied them due to cost, whilst money is being wasted in the manner described.

    We need controls fit for purpose, and fit for the modern World.

    We also need to employ and educate people within these organisations to care about where and how much money is being spent and often wasted.

    • Duyfken
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Always impressed by Alan Jutson’s contributions, I note particularly the recommendation in the last sentence : “We also need to employ and educate people within these organisations to care about where and how much money is being spent and often wasted.”

      To that end, every public sector organisation should maintain a system of internal costing to record the financial effect of services supplied to each individual consumer – eg in the case of the NHS, to each patient. In the same way, a consultant or other head of department etc should be provided with a notional budget with which (s)he would be expected to comply. If there is any such procedure in existence, it would seem less than apparent.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The BBC website tells us: ” The European Health Insurance Card entitles you to the same state healthcare as a citizen in that country – this includes prescriptions, GP visits and hospital stays.
    Care is not always free and the details vary between states depending on their healthcare system.”
    UK citizens are advised not to rely on the EUI Card but to take travel insurance as well. Clearly no such requirement is needed by anyone from the EU visiting here.

    I doubt that your government will get a grip of the multitude of costs the NHS is bearing by being in effect the International Health Service. Your letter will receive a response full of the normal platitudes and palliatives in the expectation of shutting you up.

    • Lucy Locket
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Some years ago, my then teenage son went to Majorca with his best friend and the friend’s parents. We made sure he had the forerunner of the EUI card, it was a white form. Unfortunately, he manged to injure himself and needed hospital treatment. The friend’s parents were told that the form was useless and they would have to pay for the treatment.

      We reimbursed them with a large cheque when they got back to England. I’m sure many people have similar stories to tell but, as you say, it is not a problem for EU citizens when they need treatment in the UK.

  15. Antisthenes
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    As much as identity cards(even if it is only specific to health and benefits) may be an anathema to us civil liberties believers that is the only way to stop health tourism and other abuses of our welfare system. France like many continental European countries have them and from experience I can tell you that you cannot take advantage of their health or welfare system without obtaining one.

    Also funding and provision is different and that entails medical staff always checking entitlement. A bonus is that because of competition inherent in the system patients are treated as valuable whereas the NHS puts self interest above patient interest.

    Reply There is no magic bullet – we have NI numbers, NHS numbers, GP registration etc – there are plenty of systems, but they need to be enforced properly.

  16. JoeSoap
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I seem to remember when this was mentioned by Nigel Farage and UKIP before the election the Conservative party ignored it. I guess the same will happen to your letter, unfortunately. It’s not part of the Plan.

    Reply I took it up with other MPs in the last Parliament and some changes were made then.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      The floodgates were opened by Blair, and nothing has been done about it since, except soundbites. No real action.

      • A different Simon
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Great isn’t it .

        The political class don’t like the British people and the British people don’t like the British class .

        So the political class decide to rectify the situation by bringing in people they do like !

        Eventually they may well manage to create an electorate in their own image .

  17. Kenneth
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Health insurance must apply to people from eu member states as well.

    I would also suggest that:

    1. Everyone entering the UK who does not hold a UK passport pays a bond, refundable when that person leaves the country.

    2. Most tourists, business travellers and students would hardly notice the cost as they would be covered under an insurance scheme that would put up the bond.

    3. Let us presume the bond is £1200. There is no reason why (non refundable) time-limited health insurance cannot be added to the bond cost

    4. All the NHS would need to do is only treat those who are (i) registered with their GP or (ii) can produce the visa papers to show they are visitors who have prepaid for health insurance using the bond system above

    5. If the health insurance time limit has expired then non emergency treatment should be refused.

    Most of the admin and policing would be done where it should be – at the border – and the only job of the NHS would be to check paperwork and make a binary decision to treat or not to treat.

    This nonsense of discriminating between people from eu member states and other people needs to be stopped and if that requires urgent renegotiation or a UK exit from the eu, then so be it.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink


      The problem with our system appears to be that after a simple one day of work, you can register to get a National Insurance number, and these it would appear are issued without much of a check, but simply on application.

      Perhaps we could have a provisional card/NI number issued which records you for payment of any tax required, but which does NOT AUTOMATICALLY entitle you to Benefits and NHS treatment until 5 years contributions have been paid.

      It seems so simple, we issue provisional driving licences, why not provisional insurance cards numbers

      This to also apply to our own residents so no conflict with EU regulations etc etc..

    • Iain Moore
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      We can see it, unfortunately the obvious is beyond the abilities of Westminster.

      I would add two addition points in favour of the bond scheme you suggest.

      1/ It would be self regulating system as the people coming from countries with the propensity to abscond would be subject to rising premiums until the risks balanced out the returns.

      2/ As it would be a commercially run system, where there is a financial risk, then our borders would be run much more efficiently , where there was a financial reward for finding immigrants overstaying their visas and deporting them.

      • Kenneth
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. The system would effectively put a bounty on overstayers and the premium would reflect the risk.

        Where it is also good is that it would match supply with demand: if a farmer really does need Polish fruit pickers then the farmer can put up the bond/insurance. The farmer can then share a percentage of the refund with the workers as an incentive for them to go home at the end of the harvest. They go home with a bonus and the farmer gets his labour. Win win.

        Same with universities: we are told that they do well out of foreign students. Let them put their money where their mouth is.

        It’s much more efficient than a bureaucratic points-based system which would always be out of date.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      No way no how. This country has already given “indefinite leave to remain” to the nationals of many countries, many have been here decades, many have paid into the system more than the average Brit. They are as entitled to the NHS as anyone.

      New entrants sure the system needs making much harder to gain entry to the country and rights to abode. But not the way you have phrased it.

    • CdBrux
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      You would charge every tourist, businessman etc.. entering UK a significant bond?

      I wonder what that would do for tourist numbers, trade visits and so on. On the up side you would probably be looking at which runway in the SE to close rather than where another might be added!

      • Iain Moore
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Airline passengers already pay between £13 and £145 to enter Britain, the latter close to the cost of a car insurance. Rather than the Inland Revenue recycling money raised from passenger duty to help pay to manage our borders, scrap the passenger duty, and have the people crossing our borders pay for the cost of managing our borders, or is your argument based on the desire to have the tax payer subsidise the activities of Spanish owned Heathrow or the likes of BA?

      • Kenneth
        Posted August 11, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        The vast majority would hardly notice it as it would be a tiny cost.

        As the bond would be refundable as soon as the traveller leaves the country, all they would pay would be a small insurance premium based on the risk that they overstayed.

        If you consider your house insurance where the risk is all year round and based on a much higher risk, a risk of (say) £1200 for 4 days would be result in a miniscule premium for low risk travellers. Those that bring wealth to our country (your examples) would all be low risk and therefore would pay a tiny amount.

      • David Price
        Posted August 12, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        When I travel on business I carry insurance personally or via my employer. I also arrange insurance cover for any holidays I take. Why should it be a problem for visitors? it doesn’t seek to be a problem elsewhere, eg visitors to Hong Kong, Japan, USA etc.

        If a visitor does not have provable insurance coiver then they should take out a bond, why is that so complicated? More to the point, why should I and my fellow taxpayers pay for a visitor who couldn’t be bothered to take out insurance?

  18. Bert Young
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The NHS is exploited in many ways and the latest disclosure of how the Hungarian woman living in Hungary and receiving treatment there as a cost to the NHS is shocking to say the least . I was in Spain recently and questioned my hotel about the need for medical help were it necessary ( I have a young child of 8 years ) ; I was told that guests there only had access to a private doctor and a fee was necessary . When I questioned whether the EHIC card meant that any treatment required would be available free , I was told “no”. The hotel may have got it wrong but I suspect that if there is a way to get Brits to cough up , they will always press for this .

    We do need to tighten up on all the ways our systems are exploited and think more of our tax payers . I am pleased that Ian Duncan Smith is applying a tougher control on the disbursement of benefits and I support the recent announcement that there ought to be a 4 year qualifying wait before benefits are paid . I care not that such an imposition may be in contravention of some EU regulation ; we must make our own rules and stick to them .

    Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    The people within the Labour national and local governments, their spending of money, lots of it, within the NHS was based on a desire to help people.They did not have organizational time or non-life-threatening means, to sift exactly who walking through hospital and GP’s doors should be eligible.

    Labour’s criticism: “You blame everything wrong in the UK on immigration” is valid, in general. But Labour’s apparent humanitarianism and hatred of generalizations is a cover-up.

    It is relatively easy for the Daily Mail to find anomalies regarding the NHS and other British facilities,- abuse by visitors to our shores.I dare say they could run ten stories every day on the subject.

    The truth is that with the best will in the world and even if one approves of eventual massive immigration, no government can successfully manage the intricacies of millions entering our country in the time-scale involved. It is a mess.

    JR your suggestions on steps to take on eligibility, payment and NHS are sound.

    Labour does not have any solutions to the endless increase in persons requiring NHS treatment whether eligible or not.

    Labour activists do not permit themselves to think for one instant about the health-care deficit in the countries of origin of some NHS staff. Not for one second do they allow themselves the luxury to understand the well of EU and indeed world medical staff willing to set sail for the UK to wipe our noses for us is virtually dry. But immigration to our shores continues unabated.
    The Labour Party should not gain power for the next half-century. They are a danger to all concerned.

  20. Lesley
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    If a Dr or hospital treats a non UK resident they are already being ‘paid ‘ for that cost of the individual’s care. If a system were in place to recoup the charge that could be made, the GP or hospital would not benefit if recovered, so why should they bother?

  21. Anonymous
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    If the little people behaved as incompetently and ineffectively as ministers many of them would end up with the sack or in prison on manslaughter charges – bus drivers, gas fitters, lift engineers…

    Why on earth do we need politicians to run a country this way ?

  22. Lucy Locket
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Last year we were in our local village surgery in Hertfordshire when we we overheard the following exchange:

    A lady, clearly English, needed a GP to see her small child. It turned out that she was not registered at the surgery and had gone to live in France but was visiting her mother in the village at the time. The receptionist instantly told her that people who live abroad are not entitled to see a GP.

    We were surprised by that and thought that the receptionist must have been wrong because France is in the EU.

    The situation was resolved when the lady explained that she was renting out her former village home and the receptionist then said that anyone who runs a business in the UK is entitled to use the NHS.

    What do you think about this John?

  23. Iain Gill
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Too little, too late, badly thought through, will cause immense difficulties for some genuine people we need on our side and should be supporting, while causing little or no difficulty for the rump of the problem
    As soon as couples have children born here, entitled to British passports in their own right, then it’s too late for this nonsense. So the real time horizon is 9 months, or less if they are already pregnant when they arrive.
    And genuine folk like diabetics will be hammered by this, as in most of this country there is next to no private provision for routine care. They either get insulin, and a doctor who will sign the prescription, or they will be dead within the week. Have you really though through how such people are expected to interact with the system? I humbly suggest there are few members of the medical profession prepared to allow them to die, so your whole premise is nonsense with knobs on.
    Stop the problem at source, at the border, simply don’t let people in if you don’t want them here. I know it’s a difficult concept.

  24. William Long
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    The Daily Mail told us about this yesterday and the Daily Telegraph today tells us that Jeremy Hunt got prior warning of what is happening eighteen months ago from a report he had commissioned in 2013. Surely he could have done something in a year and a half to make the abuse impossible, even with an election intervening? I know that for some reason the NHS is exempted from any need to economise but you would have thought that we could expect a Conservative Minister to stop money just being thrown away.
    Can we wonder that the migrants from everywhere, not just the EU, see us as the softest touch on the planet and are prepared to risk life and limb to get here??

  25. Dennis
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Of course people from outside the EU must be treated by the NHS, even for free, as we have taken their doctors away to be used here so there is little provision in those countries – only fair, no?

  26. stred
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    It is a shame that this sort of thing is brought up by journalists and the highly paid managers seem to be unable to detect scams. If the government pays and they are not sanctioned for mismanagement this will continue.

    As regards visitors paying for private treatment and checks on ID. It would be unfair on genuine British NHS patients, having paid into the system. All that would be necessary would be the name and email of the registered GP and an email to them to confirm the patient is on their panel.

    Reply All this was first brought up by MPs including me, and we were told the government was fixing it.

  27. Richard Hobbs
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    John, I agree with everything you say. I lived in UK for most of my life, paid my taxes and NI contributions in full but retired to Canada. I now would not consider visiting home without taking out proper insurance and this is how it should be.

    Now, if something could be done to stop the freezing of our UK State pensions, I would consider that a good thing. I never knew until I got here how many of our UK Veterans are suffering from this awful policy!

    • Lucy Locket
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Richard, you are so right about the frozen pensions. I cannot understand why the UK government does this, those people have paid in and earned their pensions just like the rest of us who still live here but they cannot get the annual increases. I cannot begin to imagine how they justify it and the weird thing is that it only applies in certain countries.

      • Richard Hobbs
        Posted August 14, 2015 at 2:46 am | Permalink

        Spot on. At one time, my wife and I lived in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. Our pensions were frozen. Someone we knew lived across the Niagara river in U.S. And their pensions were not frozen. Where is the justification for this?

  28. REPay
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    “Other countries are better at sending the UK the bills for our citizens needing treatment abroad, than we have been acting the other way.”

    An elderly US family member needed ambulance and stitches in his head when he fell at Waterloo International. He wanted to pay but was told there was no mechanism to accept money…and no need.

    Another US friend got acute food poisoning on a trip to Italy and ended up at St Thomas – Same story and he was told there was no way to pay…

    I conclude that the concept of making someone pay for medicine is either abhorrent to the NHS psyche or that the system to collect payment is unknown or seen as an admin chore. I don’t believe concern for the taxpayer is strong ethos in the British public sector.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Doctors are only coy about asking for money when they are working for the NHS, when working for themselves they will have the money off you before they start on the procedure.

  29. Sean
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t a new phenomena, we have read headline like ( National Health Service. Not World Health Service.) for many years. Just like the stupid party Labour, you do nothing but talk.

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I once waited for an X-ray in one of your Berkshire hospitals. Also waiting for an X ray was an American woman who had suffered a sking accident and was clearly on the mend. Being an extrovert sort of person she was gushing about our National Health Service and how wonderful it was that it was all free.

    Clearly, no doctor and none of the reception staff had asked her to pay anything. They haven’t been trained that way. NHS hospitals do though ask you for your date of birth ad nauseum in order to ………………….. what?

    What would it cost, in terms of administrators, book keepers and accountants to put in place a system to charge foreigners? Would the revenue be high enough to justify it?

    Reply Yes, and they are meant to do so.

  31. Boudicca
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    The Government has known about the EU scam for at least 18 months, since Jeremy Hunt was notified about it in a report he commissioned.

    Health tourism from the rest of the world has been going on for a long time …. so much so that hospitals near Heathrow have called the frequency etc ed

    Then there is the incidence of foreigners entering the UK and claiming “free” treatment for HIV, and various other serious conditions, which Mr Farage highlighted during the General Election campaign …. and which the Conservative Party supporting media (and the BBC) went into full on hyperventilation over.

    Cameron has been PM for 5 years and what has he done about these abuses? Nothing. They are still going on. It takes a high profile article by the Daily Mail to sting Hunt into action.

    The fact is, Cameron is more concerned about his image and getting a “nice” tag than he is the exploitation of British taxpayers.

  32. Leslie Singlerton
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Why doesn’t the Government stop poncing about and just say that it unequivocally wants OUT?

  33. petermartin2001
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be slightly off topic but I’ve just read this in the Guardian:

    “Jeremy Corbyn would clear the deficit – but not by hitting the poor” – John McDonnell

    So, its not just the political right who can’t grasp what should be a very simple to understand economic truth.

    As long as the UK runs a large current account deficit (the other deficit which isn’t much discussed) , ie it imports more than it exports to the tune of about 5.5% of GDP, there is no option but for Govt to at least match that to prevent the UK domestic economy running out of spending money. Or to maintain aggregate demand to be more correct.

    There may be some scope in finding unused piles of taxable cash in the possession of the rich but nowhere near enough to make any significant difference.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      You are continually confusing money supply with the ability to pay for imports.
      Does the Government pay for all these dangerous imports?
      No it does not.
      We import goods in our business. These imports go towards a product we sell add value and sell at a profit.
      We pay for these imports.
      Your talk of us “running out of spending money” is nonsense.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink


        I don’t believe there’s any confusion. Neither am I against anyone buying from overseas. Trade is good.

        My arguments are based on the sectoral financial balance approach of the late Prof Wynne Godley of Cambridge University who used that idea to correctly forecast that the eurozone could never work. You might want to look up his 1995 essay “Maastricht and all that”.

        It’s beautifully simple. If we divide up the pound sterling economy into two sectors , non-government and government, then penny for penny, a deficit for one has to be a surplus for the other.

        We can then divide up non-government into domestic and overseas sectors. So two sectors can run deficits and one sector can run a surplus, or two can run a surplus and one run deficit. But not all can be in surplus or deficit simultaneously. It’s arithmetically impossible.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 12, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          I know of your guru but I find his theories weak and lacking in real life credibility

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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