If you’re a health worker, please challenge these charges wherever you come across them. If you’d like to join the campaign to support the right of everyone to NHS care, contact Patients not Passports or the Migrant Support Group at Medact.
The following motion was passed unanimously at a recent DiU meeting.
Doctors in UNITE deplores the way migrant charges, identity checks and information sharing are being used as part of the Hostile Environment to prevent and discourage people from accessing healthcare. The charges, and the widespread fear of incurring them and of debt being reported to the Home Office, affect all migrants including those seeking asylum and those who are undocumented due to having to flee from war and oppression.
Doctors in Unite call on the Unite the Union to:-
1. Oppose migrant charging, identity checks and information sharing, by organising strong union support and link in solidarity with migrant communities, health workers and all who are or will be patients in the NHS, to oppose the charges.
2. Support campaigns such as Patients not Passports and regional and local migrant solidarity groups, by initiating an information dissemination campaign for our members throughout the UK to raise awareness of the effects of migrant charges and to encourage branches to invite speakers, preferably with lived experience of the hostile environment, from those organisations.
3. Ensure through our representation within NHS organisations, alongside other health unions, that the employer upholds the principles guiding clinical care, including “First Do No Harm”, the Duties of a Doctor, Duty of Care, and the Caldicott Principles on personal confidential data. The NHS has an overriding responsibility to provide safe, effective care to patients. Clinical and non-clinical staff are the most important resource in achieving this. Doctors in Unite believe that many NHS staff are concerned about potential harm to individuals and to public health resulting from the legal obligation to enforce healthcare charges for some patients. Many staff regard these charges as conflicting with their duties as healthcare professionals.
Healthworkers’ organisations including the British Medical Association, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the Royal College of Midwives have called for these regulations to be repealed or suspended pending a full and independent review into the impact of charging on individual and public health. Doctors in Unite call on UNITE the Union to campaign against migrant charges to reduce harm to individual and public health, to maintain the confidence of staff, and to uphold our Duty of Care and responsibilities to protect patient confidentiality and trust in the NHS.