Tories crackdown on migrants
The Tories have announced new plans to crack down on migrants who use the NHS. On the face of it, you can see why this policy would appeal. Everyone has had to wait to see their GP, we all know some one who is on a waiting list for an operation or an appointment with a consultant. It would be easy to assume that the waiting times are due to the countless migrants in front of us in the queue, but this is not the case.
Migrants make use less use of NHS services than the general population because they tend to be of working age and in good health. The reason for increased waiting times is that the NHS is going through a top down reorganisation, and GPs are now commissioning services as well as treating patients. There are 6000 fewer nurses working in the NHS than there were when the Coalition took power.
Refusing to treat migrants in the NHS does not make medical sense, because refusing GP treatment to migrants will lead to routine cases becoming emergency cases. If migrants are denied early treatment for infectious diseases it could lead to increased cases in people with compromised immune systems.
The most ironic thing about the proposal is that our NHS simply could not function without workers who have come from outside the UK. Without these there would be around 45,000 fewer doctors, nurses, pharmacists, biomedical scientists and operational staff serving the public in our NHS today.
Again, the Tories are putting ideology before evidence. This is not a policy that will help hardworking people, it is a policy designed to appease a group of voters in Tory-held seats in the south who may be thinking about voting UKIP at the next election.
There is a need for sensible immigration policy. There is a need to address the skills shortage in the fields of medicine and science. There is no need for the scapegoating of migrants.