British citizens to carry ID cards to access free NHS care as part of clamp-down on immigrants’ access to free healthcare

From DailyMail,
Britons could have to carry an ‘entitlement card’ to access free NHS care as part of a crackdown on health tourists, it emerged yesterday.

David Cameron is considering plans to restrict free healthcare for immigrants to those who have lived in the UK for more than a year, amid fears the cash-strapped NHS has become the ‘Global Health Service’.

Reforms under discussion could mean immigrants having to wait six months or even a year before being granted habitual residency and therefore hospital care.

But MPs say the scheme can only work if those entitled to free care can prove it. This would involve them presenting a card at the point of treatment.

The idea would be welcomed by many doctors who say they find it difficult to ask people whether they are entitled to NHS care for fear of appearing racist.

Mr Cameron has confirmed previous reports that he is backing plans to clamp down on immigrants’ access to free healthcare. He wants to do this by changing the ‘habitual residency test’, which is used to refuse certain benefits to immigrants. At present, it gives full access to NHS care to anyone permanently resident in the UK.

In addition, hospitals will be compelled to enforce current rules which mean tourists and others who have no right to free care – including failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants – are charged for any services they receive on the NHS.

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