- Department of Health Response to the Consultation on Extending Charging for Overseas Visitors
The Department of Health published their response to the consultation on extending charging for overseas visitors to wider areas of the NHS. The consultation has resulted in the Department setting their aim “to not only extend charging into other areas of healthcare but to ensure that information on a person’s eligibility for free healthcare is captured at their first point of contact with the NHS, regularly verified and available to other NHS organisations where necessary.”
Key changes include requiring NHS providers to obtain charges upfront and in full before a chargeable overseas visitor can access non-urgent treatment; bringing out-of-hospital secondary care services and NHS-funded services provided by non-NHS organisations, within the services that chargeable overseas visitors will have to pay for; and removing assisted reproduction services from those that a person who has paid the immigration health surcharge can access without charge.
Changes to charging for primary care will take place through a ‘phased approach’ and the Department will work with the Royal College of GPs, the British Medical Association, and the General Dental Council to consider how to implement this. Extending charges into emergency care settings has been delayed until the DoH is able to fully consider concerns raised by the respondents and explore the feasibility of implementing the proposals. The full consultation response can be found here.
- New NHS England Leaflet for Health Providers on GP Registration
NHS England have issued a leaflet on GP registration guidance, clarifying NHS guidelines on registering new patients. The leaflet reads “There is no regulatory requirement to prove identity, address, immigration status or an NHS number in order to register as a patient and no contractual requirement for GPs to request this. All asylum seekers and refugees and those who are homeless, overseas visitors, whether lawfully in the UK or not, are eligible to register with a GP practice even if they are not eligible for secondary care (hospital care) services.” It makes clear that unless GP practices can no longer accept any new patients or the patient lives outside the practice boundary, the patient must be registered on application. The leaflet is attached.
- G4S to Take Over Welfare Support for Families Facing Deportation
The Home Office is expected to announce that private security provider G4S will take over the provision of welfare support to detained families facing deportation from children’s charity, Barnardo’s, according to media reports. The change of provider follows the closure of the underused Cedars “pre-departure accommodation” near Gatwick in December and comes ahead of the expected opening of a “discrete self-contained unit” at nearby Tinsley House immigration removal centre to handle family deportations. G4S recently drew criticism in the Home Affairs Select Committee report for providing disgraceful standards of asylum accommodation. The Refugee Council has issued a response calling for the end to child detention once and for all.
- ARC Updated ‘Turkey Country Report’ presenting ‘Country of Origin Information’ (COI) up to 6 January 2017
This report is an update of ARC’s previous ‘Turkey Country Report’ of 15 December 2016 and presents country of origin information (COI) on Turkey up to 6 January 2017 on issues of relevance in refugee status determination for Turkish nationals related to the attempted coup d’état and the introduction of the State of Emergency. The updated report focuses on the post-attempted coup situation including the scale of the government’s purge, the deterioration in the rule of law, access to justice, and situation of detainees following the massive number of arrests, as well as the treatment of perceived or actual members or associates of the Gulen movement in Turkey and abroad and their family members, perceived or actual opponents of the current government, ethnic minorities, government officials, civil servants, police officers, judges and prosecutors, teachers and academics, clerics, journalists and media professionals, business owners and family members of those targeted following the attempted coup. The report can be accessed via Refworld.Best Wishes, Andrea