There are a lot of changes going on in the UK right now. One change that does not get as much press as the travel industry thinks it should is the change made to NHS treatment. According to a new proposal, non-European Union nationals who come to England for more than six months will now be charged £200 a year to access NHS treatment.
This will have a huge effect on tourism in Britain. This is because this new charge is going to be added to the costs of visas for students and other people visiting the country. On top of this, it appears that hospitals might be able to make changes to how they reclaim the cost of money that is spent on European Union patients who receive free health-related services because they are staying in the country less than six months.
This new proposal was put in front of the government due to the belief that some people are coming to the UK simply to take advantage of the medical system. Most of these people have no reason to be visiting the UK except to receive free medical attention.
Jeremy Hunt, who is the Health Secretary for the UK, was the person who unveiled this plan. He said that the extra £200 charge on six-month visas will help hospitals get back some of the money they lose for providing health care. He also believes that tourists should be charged for GP access. This will be used for the country to be able to recover more health care costs.
Mr Hunt added that this new fee is simply going to be added to the cost of visas for students who are traveling to the UK. This price is not outrageous. In fact, it puts the UK within a competitive zone with other countries that also charge foreign students for these kinds of services. Too much money is being spent on providing health care to people who are simply traveling to the UK.
According to the Department of Health, the cost of giving aid to foreigners who are traveling in the UK is about £30 million a year, and that is for the NHS alone. This is a growing problem, and the country cannot afford to keep paying these medical bills without getting something in return.
The fact remains that emergency treatment will still be given to people who are in need of treatment. The government does this to help stop the spread of infectious diseases. It is the non-emergency treatment that will be hard to determine. Most ministers believe that the best way to handle this is to apply a levy for travellers.
The main problem will be how this levy is applied. There will not be any kind of border guards that can do a simple system check to see if someone is eligible or not for treatment. However, without some kind of system in place, this plan will fall apart. Of course, a huge crackdown on this system might end up costing the country more than what it is going to save.