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Should nurses boycott the new requirement to check passports from overseas patients?


Taking effect from April 2017, health professionals will be asked to check upon arrival that patients admitted are UK citizens. Plans announced by health secretary, Jeremy Hunt state that patients who are not UK citizens will be charged upfront unless their care is urgent and must be treated immediately. The latter will be invoiced later.

Hunt’s plans are set up as a way of trying to regain the £500 million cost of treating oversea patients and hopes the new measures in place will recover costs by 2017-18. The move was put in motion after an unfavourable report from the Commons public accounts committee.

Evan Luckes, a nurse who wrote an opinion piece for the independent stated it was unfair to put patients against nurses and create the persona that nurses should be feared and be the barrier between receiving treatment.  He has further called on nurses to take a stand and make it clear to not check passports and support one another, which no doubt will create a backlash from management.

Docs not Cops a NHS Staff and patient activist group have been campaigning against these changes as they strongly believe that everyone has the right to access healthcare, regardless of their immigration status or ability to pay. A relationship between a doctor or health professional and patient is relied upon trust and respect. Having passport checks to check eligibility breaks this trust and potentially goes against the basis of the NHS. “The National Health Service was built on the principle that healthcare is a right not a privilege” with this in mind a number of NHS staff and patients are fighting this core principle remains.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with Hunt that it is an effective way to recover costs or should the government look at other ways to recover these costs?

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