Boris Johnson has pledged to end health tourism, which sees foreign nationals deliberately travelling to the UK to use NHS services for free. He will charge all foreign patients, including those from the EU, a £625 charge for using Britain’s health services.
The Tories have promised to introduce tougher immigration measures, in particular the crackdown on health tourism. Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has promised to bring an end to the drain on the NHS from overseas visitors, such as allowing EU migrants free access to the NHS . The cabinet minister said he plans to make “access to the NHS fairer” by charging all migrants the same flat fee.
Currently the average visit to the NHS from overseas visitors costs the British taxpayer an average of £625 per visit.
Visitors from outside the EU are required to pay a £400 surcharge – but if they come from within the bloc, their treatment is completely free.
The £400 charge is also frequently waived in practice.
The new charge is expected to raise an extra £500million a year for the NHS.
The new proposals also include plans to ramp up health tourism “hit squads” who will chase the frequently missing payments from overseas patients.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Gove said: “Making access to the NHS fairer is part of making migration fairer overall.
“Our country is made stronger by welcoming people with talent from across the globe.
“But it’s not right that people from Bulgaria and Slovenia can come here without any controls and have automatic rights that people from Bangladesh and Singapore do not.”