Failed asylum seekers to be refused NHS treatment

The government has confirmed controversial plans to crack down
on ‘health tourists’ and refuse NHS treatment to failed
asylum seekers.

Once an asylum seeker’s application has been turned down,
including appeals, NHS treatment will no longer be free. Even
emergency treatment will have to be paid for, and the only
exemption will be for continuing treatment that began before the
asylum status decision was made.

The move follows a 14-week consultation that ended in October,
and will come into force in April 2004.

Health minister John Hutton said: “We need to make it
clear to overseas visitors that they will be charged for treatment,
and that failed asylum seekers will no longer be eligible.

“However, in making these rule changes it must be stressed
we will continue to meet or international obligations in providing
healthcare for genuine asylum seekers,” he said.

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