DoH to deny GP care to failed asylum seekers

Failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants will not be allowed access to a GP, if government proposals are passed.

A review by the DoH and the Home Office is taking place to decide whether to stop all healthcare for people illegally in the country, except for emergency access.

Think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that 390,000 people would lose access to a GP if the plan is approved. Asylum seekers were barred in 2004 from free access to secondary healthcare for long-term conditions because of concerns that people were travelling to the UK to be treated.

Liam Byrne, immigration minister, said: 'In our cross-government enforcement strategy in March, we said we would work collectively to shut down the privileges of those in Britain illegally. A review of healthcare rules was promised at the time and is now ongoing.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the GPC, said: 'I would be very concerned if any barriers were placed in the way of primary care to anyone.

'We have a responsibility to provide professional care to all those in the country, particularly the most vulnerable.

'We don't want to have a situation where we have a group of people effectively destitute on the streets without access to the most basic healthcare.'

tom.ireland@haymarket.com.

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