ourNHS

Treat, don't police

Last week's shocking treatment of migrants by employer Byron shows how government is seeking to create an army of informants - and they're trying the same tactics in our NHS.

Ruth Atkinson
5 August 2016

Our Tory government seeks to create a “hostile environment” for migrants in the UK. This means that they have devolved border control from the Home Office into every corner of our lives: employment, renting, and healthcare. They are essentially creating an army of informants to dob in the most vulnerable, those who often have no legal protection.

We have seen this happen at Byron. We are also seeing it happen in the NHS.

Under the Immigration Act, non-EEA patients are chargeable at 150% of NHS costs. Patients with outstanding bills have their details shared with the Home Office, which can lead to requests for leave to remain being denied, or even to detention. This is an increasingly popular tactic: this year, the Home Office requested three times as much data from the NHS than in 2013, as shown below.

nhs data requests by home office.png

We can’t allow this to happen! The government is creating a panopticon of border control, where we police each other. This ultimately causes fear and resentment, and fuels racist ideology. Vulnerable people are less likely to access health services if they fear charges or punishment on the grounds of immigration status. This constitutes a public health and human rights issue.

Byron colluded with the Home Office to avoid a massive fine. It seems they knew who was working for them illegally, and set them up for their own benefit. But healthcare workers, ideally, provide free access to sensitive, non-judgemental care. They cannot be asked to police instead of treat.

At DocsNotCops, we are working to repeal the Immigration Act within healthcare. The BMA stands with us, and you can too!

Find us on Facebook, Twitter or www.docsnotcops.co.uk 

Should we allow artificial intelligence to manage migration?

How is artificial intelligence being used in governing migration? What are the risks and opportunities that the emerging technology raises for both the state and the individual crossing a country’s borders?

Ryerson University’s Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration and openDemocracy have teamed up to host this free live discussion on 15 April at 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Ana Beduschi Associate professor of law, University of Exeter

Hilary Evans Cameron Assistant professor, faculty of law, Ryerson University

Patrick McEvenue Senior director, Strategic Policy Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Chair: Lucia Nalbandian Researcher, CERC Migration, Ryerson University

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData