Happy New Year to my reader.
One thing I don’t want for 2014 is World Peace. If I say I want that I’ll end up being elected as Miss World 2014 and that would never do.
What I do want is for our Government and the Press to stop lying to us. A bold statement, but true I feel.
The government have stated and the press have reported that Migrants and Overseas Visitors will soon have to pay for their treatment for NHS services. Well I’ve got news for you. They should be paying already.
To the best of my knowledge no-one from outside the EU is entitled to free NHS treatment whether they be Health Tourist or Holidaymaker. They are supposed to be charged for their treatment and reclaim it from Health/Travel Insurance if applicable.
EU residents can be issued with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is a re[placement for the old E111 us codgers will remember.
Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, as long as you’re not going abroad to give birth.
The EHIC is valid in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland.
Nothing there states that it is free except in certain circumstances. The reverse is true when Johnny Frenchman comes to visit us, he has to produce his EHIC and pay the reduced rate, even at GP surgeries.
When Mrs Angry and I left these shores for France we were summarily expelled from the NHS, had our medical records stored gathering dust in Newcastle somewhere and if we needed to visit the doctor whilst visiting family in the UK then we were supposed to pay and claim it back from the French authorities or Travel Insurance upon our return.
Where it went wrong was that the well-meaning NHS staff didn’t understand the system and why would we be charging a British National for his/her healthcare? Lack of education/training by NHS bosses, simple as that.
For the government to state and for the press to report differently to that is WRONG. Not a mistake, not a misunderstanding. Iain Douglas Smith’s DWP (yes him again) produce a plethora of leaflets in a multitude of languages informing anyone who sends for one what the situation is.
The NHS’ own website has this to say on the subject ”
If you are moving abroad on a permanent basis, you will no longer be entitled to medical treatment under normal NHS rules. This is because the NHS is a residence-based healthcare system. You’ll also have to notify your GP so that you and your family can be removed from the NHS register.
You will no longer be entitled to use your UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access healthcare abroad.”
It also says “If you are a visitor from the European Economic Area (EEA) then you are strongly advised to bring a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you, otherwise you may be charged for your healthcare.
Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, as long as you’re not going abroad to give birth.
Bear in mind that the UK’s healthcare system may be different from your home country’s and therefore your EHIC might not cover everything that you would expect to get free in your country”
I can’t speak for all countries but in France healthcare is NOT free for French residents. Except for certain welfare cases the State pays 60-70% of your healthcare costs and the remaining 30-40% can be repaid by your Health Insurance if you have any, except for 1 Euro. The French government decrees that 1 Euro cannot be reimbursed by anybody, heaven only knows why, those bureaucratic French, don’t you just love them?
If, as British holidaymaker in France you needed to visit the doctor, you would have to pay 23 Euros (last time I was there), probably in cash, and then be charged for any medicines prescribed. The EHIC entitles you to the same service as the French, and that’s what they get.
The French Healthcare system is, in the main, an excellent one. Waiting Lists are hugely lower than they are here, but do not, for one minute, let the government convince you that it is free, not even to the French, except, as I say, basic healthcare for the really poor and disadvantaged.
Our government cannot claim that healthcare in the UK is free to overseas visitors, because EU citizen or not, it should not be free.
It has been estimated that by charging overseas properly for their healthcare could save the NHS £500 Million per year.
But don’t be fooled, this is nothing new, the system already exists, but I know from personal experience of having to tell a doctor or a dentist that they should be charging us for our treatment most NHS employees don’t know because they have not been told. I didn’t hide my address and pretend I was a British resident, I told the truth, and they still didn’t know how to charge me for my treatment.
It’s Lies, plain and simple. Tell the truth Camoron, BBC et al and put systems in place that allow for charging to be carried out as it should be, and report the news accurately and responsibly.
I have no complaints whatsoever about paying for my Healthcare in France, because I was treated the same as a French National, and I hadn’t paid anything into their Health System, but don’t let Camoron,Hunt and Smith convince you that’s free for EU Nationals cos it ain’t.
Happy New Year