The Immigration Act of 2014 has far reaching strands that pushes society further to the right. It affects many areas of life such as housing and health. In health, the government want clinical, administrative and auxiliary staff to enquire to and report on the immigration status of patients, which could lead to charging or the withholding of healthcare services.
This Act creates charging for in-patient services and a health surcharge on visa applications to anyone who is not ordinarily a resident to the UK. There are some exempt services and groups of people.
The aim of the Act is to punish those who are vulnerable and aims to divert attention away from those who benefit from capitalism, by stigmatising other areas of society. They claim it is to finance a strained NHS, avoiding the real pressures being applied through marketisation and re-organisation.
Healthcare should be available to all and not a few. The need for care outweighs any excuse to withhold or challenge someone’s access to healthcare, for example whether they have the ability to pay or where they have come from.
This Act forces health staff to become gatekeepers to healthcare and encourages us to police the people we treat. This administrative oppression will harm people physically and mentally, whilst extending a wider culture of fear for migrants.
We refuse to do the dirty work of the government and will fight this anyway we can.
For a more detailed explanation of the Immigration Act’s implementation in the NHS and what you can do, check out the Health and Social Care Network’s pamphlet on this. The pamphlet suggests ways in which NHS workers can collectively sabotage the implementation of migrant worker gatekeeping and has links to other groups engaged in resistance.