Immigration from both the European Union and the rest of the world has been cited
as one of the concerns when it comes to NHS exploitations.
Earlier this week, the government announced plans to double the immigration health surcharge
paid by temporary migrants to the UK. The amount will rise from £200 to £400 per year.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) estimates that the NHS spends £470 on average per person per year on treating surcharge payers. Projections suggest that the increased charges may provide around £220m extra every year, with this money going to NHS services.
"It is only right that people who come to the UK should contribute to the running of the NHS. The surcharge offers access to health care services that are far more comprehensive and at a much lower cost than many other countries. The income generated goes directly to NHS services, helping to protect and sustain our world-class healthcare system for everyone who uses it," Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said.
Not everyone agrees that immigration is a reason to be concerned for the NHS.
"Immigrants are the backbone of our NHS. The truth is that immigration contributes more to our economy than takes away from it. The issue with health tourism isn't actually the main issue with the funding crisis. It is just rubbish when people talk like this," a campaigner told Sputnik.
Another activist stressed that the issue of health tourism is overinflated
"It's a very insignificant proportion of the NHS budget and whoever is resident in this country – they are still paying into NHS by paying the VAT.