May 19 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The document for refugees and migrants, which is available online in 20 languages, says general practices can register patients without any proof of identity and without the patient having to prove he or she is in the UK legally.
City Hall denied promoting health tourism or distributing the guide to illegal immigrants, but the campaign group Migration Watch UK branded the booklet an “absolute disgrace” and called for its immediate recall.
Sir Andrew Green, the group’s chairman, said Mr Johnson risks turning the NHS into an “international health service paid for by the British taxpayer”.
“To encourage this further pressure on an already overstretched service is an absolute disgrace and will be greeted with anger by UK taxpayers,” he said.
“What other country in the world would register someone for free medical treatment without any documents at all?”
“We call on the mayor to withdraw the booklet and we call on the Government to take effective steps to restrict NHS access, except for emergencies, to those who have contributed to it.”
The booklet is titled How Can I Get Medical Help in London, and states: “Overseas visitors do not legally have to prove their identity or immigration status to register with a practice.”
It added: “Sometimes general practices ask for proof of address or proof of ID. If you do not have any documents, they can still register you.”
A Greater London Authority spokeswoman said: “This booklet was designed to clarify for Londoners the existing NHS guidelines on how best to access healthcare.
“They have not been distributed abroad and City Hall does not promote health tourism.
“Neither have they been distributed to illegal immigrants, not least because City Hall opposes illegal immigration and actively works with the Border Agency to uphold immigration law.”