BMA urges Government to scrap ‘unfair’ immigration health surcharge for NHS staff

by BMA media team Press release from the BMA
Published: Wednesday 20 May 2020

Responding to the announcement from Keir Starmer today that Labour will be tabling an amendment to the Immigration Bill that would exempt international health and care workers from paying the immigration health surcharge, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:

“The immigration health surcharge is unfair, illogical and penalises hardworking international staff for dedicating their lives to NHS patients.

“The BMA has consistently said that all healthcare workers should be exempt from paying the charge – and this is more important now than ever. At a time when skilled international doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are risking their lives in the fight against Covid-19 – and most tragically, in some cases dying on the frontline – it beggars belief that they are still being charged to use the very service they are working for.

“These staff are also already paying tax and national insurance like everybody else - meaning they are being charged twice for NHS treatment.

“Just weeks’ ago, it was positive to hear the Home Secretary promising a review into the charge – only for the Government to now say nothing will change. We continue to urge the Government to scrap the charge for healthcare workers and welcome the Labour leader’s proposed amendment to the Immigration Bill.

“In the last two months we’ve seen a huge outpouring of support for our frontline staff, including those talented colleagues who have come to work here from overseas, and I’m sure they would be dismayed to find that the Government is continuing to penalize them with this absurd fee during the crisis.”

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Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

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