Mike and several other bloggers have been pointing out the severe injustice and immense damage that will be caused by the government’s plans to exclude immigrants from receiving NHS treatment. Quite apart from the fact that it is morally wrong to refuse needed medical help to people on the grounds of their nationality, it also poses a wider danger to public health. For example, if an immigrant contracts a dangerous, infectious disease, such as tuberculosis, for example, but dares not seek help because they will be refused and imprisoned and deported, then not only is there a possibility that the person themselves will suffer and possibly die in pain and neglect, but that they will continue to infect others through lack of treatment. In treating immigrants, even if they are illegal, we are also protecting ourselves.
I also strongly feel that there is a wider programme at work here. The NHS is rapidly being privatised piecemeal by the Coalition, many of whose members make no secret that they are hostile to it. The restriction of free medical care to British citizens seems like part of a scheme to introduce gradually a completely fee-paying, commercial medical service, such as America’s. It begins by demanding the immigrants pay for their own medical treatment, so that British citizens will become slowly used to the idea of certain people having to pay for medical treatment. The requirement to pay for medical treatment is then gradually extended to other groups, until the central principle on which the NHS was founded, that medical care should be free and available to everyone, has been more or less completely discarded. The demands for immigrants to pay for their medical treatment is only the beginning. If the Tories pass this, then there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever they will gradually extend it to you.
Suppose Michael Schumacher had moved to Britain and had his accident here after new government plans for the NHS were put in place – would he have been refused treatment?
Admittedly, that is a bad example to use. Mr Schumacher is undoubtedly wealthy enough to buy any healthcare he needs, and we should not wish poor treatment on him in any case.
It does show up the poverty of the Conservative-led government’s moral attitude, though. The fact that he is German adds another dimension, in that his people may have a particular aversion to any situation in which their papers are demanded by officials before they are allowed to do anything.
The proposals demonstrate the depths to which the UK is falling under the current despotic, unelected right-wing administration and the petty would-be tyrant at its head. We are drifting ever-closer to totalitarianism and comparisons with 1930s and 40s Germany…
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