The cost of medical services for immigrants will double

The bill for medical services provided to immigrants temporarily living in the UK will double. This decision was taken by the government to provide additional funding for the NHS. Health ministers said that having increased the cost of medical services for immigrants and visitors to the UK on a short-term basis, the NHS budget will have an additional £ 220 million annually.

The increase in tariffs in the National Health Service is considered fair, given the number of visitors to the country for the purpose of "medical tourism". For representatives of countries outside the European Economic Area, the cost of the basic medical package will rise from £200 to £400 per year. For students and youth, the tariff will rise from £150 to £300 per year. Higher tariffs will be applied to immigrants residing in the UK for at least six months.

The proposal to raise the tariffs for medical services for British guests was introduced at discussion as early as in 2015 with the goal of regulating of "medical tourism". Then some doctors expressed fears that this policy could be perceived as a manifestation of racism and intolerance towards immigrants and visitors to the UK.

The NHS minister, James O'Shaughnessy, said: "Our health system is funded by taxpayers, we welcome long-term immigrants, but we consider it fair to require them to contribute to the NHS development, the services of which they actively use."

The so-called medical tourism, when foreigners come to the UK for treatment at the NHS, cost the National Health Service about 0.3% of the budget last year. Mainly for the purpose of medical tourism, British living abroad come in Britain. In addition, the NHS services are used by foreign students, immigrants and tourists, which cost the health service approximately £1.8 billion a year.

According to a report made by the National Audit Office, in 2016 the government paid £674 million to other European countries for treating British people abroad, in return receiving only £49 million for treatment of citizens of other European countries in NHS.

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