Government proposals designed to stop failed asylum seekers and
others with no legal right to be in the UK from accessing free care
from GPs are being launched this week, writes Amy
The consultation paper will contain proposed regulations
requiring people to prove they are entitled to free NHS care when
they register with a GP.
Speaking in an evidence session to the Home Affairs Committee,
health minister John Hutton said that in his view the regulations
should mainly be enforced by the primary care trusts themselves
rather than frontline staff.
Hutton said that the issue of how frequently a patient would
need to confirm their entitlement to free NHS care was highly
important. He said he did not want people to have to confirm this
every time they saw their GP but that there was an argument for
regular checks as people’s residency and immigration details
could change over time.
Although there were no figures on how much the system was being
abused Hutton said he had been told by primary care workers it was
a significant amount.
The committee also considered how ID cards could be used to
prove entitlement to free primary and secondary care.