Ministers had promised to crack down on overseas visitors abusing the NHS by making it a legal requirement for hospitals to charge upfront those not entitled to free care. Under strict rules, patients were to be asked to prove their eligibility by showing a passport and evidence of a permanent UK address.
Pregnant women, thought to account for the majority of health tourism costs, were a particular target.It's about time! I'm amazed, but delighted, that this useless Tory government is getting something right at last!
Oh. Hang on...
Trials have been discontinued and the Department of Health and Social Care said it has no intention of making the checks mandatory.
Last night, it also indicated its focus had shifted to better collection of unpaid health tourists' bills.What? Why?
The U-turn follows campaigns by Left-wing activists, including doctors and nurses, opposed to charging migrants.
They claim doing so is 'racist' and have called on hospital workers to stop checks.If Fred on the assembly floor decides to disobey a management order to reassemble widgets a different way to that done last month, and encourages his fellows to do the same, he'll be dismissed.
Why isn't the NHS run on the same lines? And will we see the police scupper similar moves to get a grip on problems?
These people are public servants, are they not?