With 1 in 20 of London's population now a refugee or asylum seeker, MigrationwatchUK seeks enquiry into 'misuse' of NHS
November 25, 2002
With 1 in 20 of the population of London now either a refugee or
asylum seeker, a leading migration think-tank is calling for an
immediate investigation into the impact this is having on health
provision in the capital.
Giving evidence to an investigative review of asylum seekers and
refugees in London by the Public Service Committee of the London Assembly
on 26th November, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch UK,
will say that a full and honest debate about the impact of current large scale
immigration into Britain - particularly London and the south east
where 2/3rds of migrants settle - requires that the costs be considered
alongside any benefits.
'In a recent report we said that Government claims that migrants
bring net benefit to the nation's finances are quite wrong. They
did not include many of the associated costs,' said Sir Andrew.
One very important omission was the cost of extra health facilities
for these additional residents - some 350,000 to 400,000 people
according to the Assembly's own estimates - equivalent to about
two London Boroughs.
Those who are here legally are rightly entitled to health care but,
over the last 10 years a third of a million asylum claimants have
been refused while there is no evidence that they have left the
UK. Others are smuggled in but there is nothing to stop them claiming
health care. Nor is there any effective check on tourists, visitors
or those who overstay their visas.
Sir Andrew said that he was very surprised that the objectives of
the committee's review dealt only with the provision of services
and support for asylum seekers and refugees. The major impact on
London's indigenous population was being completed ignored.
'In fact, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence of widespread
abuse of the NHS by those not entitled to its benefits,' said Sir
Andrew. 'People working in the service are bound by confidentiality
agreements and by data protection. The result is that a serious
problem is simply being covered up and as a consequence is one which
the authorities are failing to address,' he said.
'I am therefore calling for an immediate investigation of the misuse
of the NHS. Its outcome will be highly relevant to the debate on
entitlement cards. This issue has been ducked for too long. It must
now be tackled. We must not leave the field open to those - particularly
on the far right - who are exploiting the concerns of the people
of London for their own ends,' he said.