NewsImage of people demonstrating against NHS charges

Today, we’re part of a coalition of campaign groups – Greater Manchester Patients Not Passports – who have delivered an open letter calling for an end to migrant charging in the NHS. 

The letter is addressed to local NHS Trusts, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

The letter asks that they:

  • Prevent the sharing of healthcare data for immigration enforcement purposes
  • Oppose all charging of migrants for healthcare
  • Promote a welcoming environment in the NHS for all, irrespective of immigration status.

The full text of the letter is here. It was drafted by Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit in coalition with Medact Manchester and Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public. The coalition campaigns locally as the Greater Manchester branch of #PatientsNotPassports. Signatories include migrant rights groups, trade unions, anti-austerity campaigners and many concerned individuals.

The law as it stands places the burden on NHS trusts to divert resources away from frontline care to recover charges from migrants who have no means of paying them.

The impact of migrant charging is demonstrated by Simba’s story. Because he is judged to be non-exempt under the extremely complex rules for migrants, Simba has been charged £93,000 for life-saving NHS treatment following a stroke. 

Simba says: ‘I would love to pay it back if I could, but I can’t. I can’t work because of my status. I don’t know what kind of job I could have that would pay such a bill. My life is just stagnant and I’m scared to live.’

Phillip Welldrake of Greater Manchester Patients Not Passports said: ‘We believe healthcare is a human right, which should not depend on immigration status, reflecting the ethos of the NHS’.

For further details, contact Jason Ioannou: