Home Immigration News NHS ethics are being compromised by the government’s hostile policies

NHS ethics are being compromised by the government’s hostile policies

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Author: Luna Williams

The NHS has long been recognised as a profoundly ethical body. Since its conception in 1948, it has functioned as a service-provider which doesn’t discriminate; providing healthcare for individuals of all backgrounds, classes and wealth. Now, a combination of consistent budget-cuts and hostile immigration policies has pushed these ethics to one side, and forced the NHS into the role of an immigration enforcer for the Home Office.

According to a report released by the Guardian earlier this year, at least three-quarters of NHS trusts have assigned patient debts in the last, most of which belonged to destitute asylum-seekers and migrants, to private debt collector firms. According to the report, from 2016-18, 8,468 patient debts were assigned to independent firms – decisions which went against guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care, stating that NHS trusts can write off any debt if ‘it is clear that a person is destitute or genuinely without access to any funds.’ These firms employed various forms of intimidating tactics, including daily phone calls, door-steps visits and even property possession. Despite the use of these aggressive and, many would argue unethical tactics, only 7% of the unpaid debts were recovered.

This is not the only example of a UK service provider having to compromise its ethics in an attempt to keep up with hostile governmental policies. Last month, the Right to Rent Scheme – which required landlords to carry out immigration checks on potential tenants and refuse those who cannot prove their status in the UK – came under fire. The scheme was initially introduced as part of the larger ‘hostile environment policy’ which aimed to make the UK so inhospitable to ‘illegal immigrants’ that they would leave. The policy became progressively cruel and included the use of ‘Go Home’ adverts; the physical removal of homeless Europeans; and the harassment and deportation of hundreds of legitimate Windrush-generation citizens.

The Right to Rent Scheme was introduced as part of the 2014 Immigration Act, which introduced the idea that service-providers should be responsible for carrying out immigration checks and refusing their services to those they deem ‘illegal’. However, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) conducted a survey which found that the scheme encouraged discriminatory attitudes and practices. According to JCWI’s findings, 42% of landlords surveyed said that they would be less willing to rent to anybody who did not have a British passport since the scheme was initiated, while 27% admitted they would avoid negotiating with anyone who had a ‘foreign-sounding’ name or accent.

Source: https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/nhs-ethics-are-being-compromised-by-the-government-s-hostile-policies-1-6065149

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