Author- Denis Campbell
Britain’s doctors have urged ministers to scrap controversial rules that force migrants to pay upfront before they can receive NHS care for serious illnesses such as cancer.
The British Medical Association has become the first body representing medical staff to call for the complete abolition of the charges, which have been heavily criticised by MPs and health charities.
Delegates gathering in Belfast for the annual conference of the union, which represents 155,000 doctors, overwhelmingly backed a motion which called for “the policy of charging migrants for NHS care to be abandoned and for the NHS to be free for all at the point of delivery”.
Medical bodies such as the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have previously only demanded that the regulations be suspended pending an inquiry into how they were working.
The BMA’s demand follows mounting criticism of the rules for stopping undocumented migrants from accessing care they need because they cannot pay the fees in advance. In cases highlighted by the Guardian, some of those denied care died.