GPs should not be used to police immigration system

GPs should not be used to police the immigration system, BMA council chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum has said.

Dr Meldrum was speaking after writing to home secretary Jacqui Smith to complain about the deportation of Ama Sumani, a Ghanaian, who could not afford life saving dialysis treatment in her own country.

'We are not saying they should change the law so that anyone and everyone who comes to the UK can access free treatment,' he said. 'However, we feel that showing compassion in this case wouldn't open the floodgates of uncontrolled health immigration.'

Dr Meldrum also expressed concerns that the government was pressuring GPs to question the immigration status of unregistered patients.

'There have been suggestions that GPs or their staff should ask patients who they are, and where they're from,' he said.

'If we start going down that road it gets us away from what we should be doing, which is treating patients.'

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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