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AIBU?

Health Tourism

42 replies

Kendodd · 18/09/2022 13:24

Fuming after conversation with my racist, Nigel Farage loving, Brexit voting mother. Again she was insisting the NHS is on its knees because of immigrants. Of course she has no numbers to back this (lie) up. If anything I would argue, from personal experience (so equally I have no numbers to back it up) health tourism is in the other direction, I know a good few people who've gone abroad for medical and dental treatment, both British and immigrants who go back home for medical care. I would also guess that the NHS has a higher percentage of immigrants working within it than in the general population.

Anyway, anyone got and actual numbers to show who's right, me or my mother? One difference between me and my mother though is that I'll take on board any facts and rethink, my mother won't.

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Testina · 18/09/2022 13:32

What’s the point?
You said it won’t change her mind.
My dad is like this. Honestly, I barely talk to him. When I do and he comes out with this, I actually laugh at him, and my stock line is, “getting your opinions from the Daily Mail again dad?”
And I do mean, properly laugh out loud.
Generally he huffs and changes the subject. If he - occasionally - tries to argue, I ask him for the numbers.

“oh that sounds bad mum - what’s the cost of immigrant health care vs the tax they’ve paid them?”

You need the meme about pigeons shitting on a chessboard! Just laugh at her and tell her she’s thick 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Kendodd · 18/09/2022 13:39

@Testina
I know you're right, I have the damage lies like this have done to the country though.

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Kendodd · 18/09/2022 13:39

*hate the damage

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sst1234 · 18/09/2022 13:41

The last study showed that health tourism costs the NHS about £300m a year.

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Inca22 · 18/09/2022 13:46

@sst1234 super interesting as it costs £190bn to run the NHS. Puts that argument into perspective!

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woodhill · 18/09/2022 13:47

It's still not right though is it

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Kendodd · 18/09/2022 13:50

sst1234 · 18/09/2022 13:41

The last study showed that health tourism costs the NHS about £300m a year.

Do we know how much British residents have spent on healthcare abroad?

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Sarahcoggles · 18/09/2022 13:51

Inca22 · 18/09/2022 13:46

@sst1234 super interesting as it costs £190bn to run the NHS. Puts that argument into perspective!

Does that mean that 1.5% of the NHS budget goes on people who aren't entitled to NHS treatment?

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Kendodd · 18/09/2022 13:52

sst1234 · 18/09/2022 13:41

The last study showed that health tourism costs the NHS about £300m a year.

Thank you for the numbers btw, do you have a link?

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Notjusta · 18/09/2022 13:53

sst1234 · 18/09/2022 13:41

The last study showed that health tourism costs the NHS about £300m a year.

Gosh that is a lot - I know not in the grand scheme of overall NHS budget, but still a lot. Who did that study?

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Kendodd · 18/09/2022 13:55

Sarahcoggles · 18/09/2022 13:51

Does that mean that 1.5% of the NHS budget goes on people who aren't entitled to NHS treatment?

Do we know how that breaks down?
In that, how many of those are British people who live abroad, therefore not entitled to free NHS treatment? I'm not sure if I would describe them as immigrants or not?

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IrmaGord · 18/09/2022 13:56

Surely health tourism isn't connected to immigration as such. As I understand it, a 'health tourist' is someone who comes on some kind of holiday visa (or whatever it is) specifically to access healthcare then goes home afterwards, having not paid anything towards it.

Someone who's an immigrant to the country is presumably paying national insurance or has the correct insurance and is therefore entitled to us the NHS, including those who work for the NHS.

Immigration putting a strain on public services because the government hasn't updated the infrastructure to accommodate more people is a different matter again.

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JulesCobb · 18/09/2022 13:58

NHS is on it’s needs because the government wants it to be. And also management and funding decisions. But that doesn't mean health tourism isn't a problem. Hospitals need to be better at charging people, and the nhs needs to be better at reclaiming money owed.

when brits go abroad for healthcare or dental care, they pay for it. But usually at a cheaper cost than going private here. Or it just isn't offered here at all.

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cakeorwine · 18/09/2022 13:59

sst1234 · 18/09/2022 13:41

The last study showed that health tourism costs the NHS about £300m a year.

How does that breakdown?

How does it define health tourism?
How much is claimed back from insurance?

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Testina · 18/09/2022 14:03

www.migrationwatchuk.org/news/2021/10/21/health-tourism

Lots of referenced figures here.

Health tourism isn’t “immigrants” though.

The thing is, you can’t argue this successfully with your mum. Apart from the fact she won’t listen to reason, fundamentally she is correct that there are “foreign people” (and shock horror, and no doubt extra points for Mama Racism, some will be black) getting NHS treatment that they’re not entitled to for free.
It’s an unwinnable argument.

Now you could ask your mum, if she has a fall in the street and is brought in unconscious - would she like to be left on a trolley until someone works out who she is so that a passport can be found? Oh, and perhaps her NI record checked?

It actually is pretty poor reading those figures, that U.K. is worse at collecting the debt than other Western European nations. So like I say - it’s unwinnable.

If it were my dad, I’d acknowledge that it’s bad - then start a conversation about net contributors and how much he costs the British tax payer 😉

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Tomorrowisalatterday · 18/09/2022 14:07

It is difficult to define health tourism.

I have cousins who live in a developing country, they are British citizens and come and stay with their parents a couple of times a year, they get all medical treatment they can, they even both came back to give birth to their kids. I don't know that they would show up on "health tourism" stats because they are British citizens and put their name on various things at their parents' house in order to claim residence.

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Testina · 18/09/2022 14:07

Can I just say, I don’t actually support the biased position of that website?! I only shared it because it does have some references for its data on this point.

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woodhill · 18/09/2022 14:08

Tomorrowisalatterday · 18/09/2022 14:07

It is difficult to define health tourism.

I have cousins who live in a developing country, they are British citizens and come and stay with their parents a couple of times a year, they get all medical treatment they can, they even both came back to give birth to their kids. I don't know that they would show up on "health tourism" stats because they are British citizens and put their name on various things at their parents' house in order to claim residence.

I don't agree with this at all

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Tomorrowisalatterday · 18/09/2022 14:09

woodhill · 18/09/2022 14:08

I don't agree with this at all

I agree!

I don't think though that they would show up on any official statistics as health tourists even though they kind of are

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woodhill · 18/09/2022 14:09

Did they originally live here as children

It is dishonest but I suppose where they live has awful provisions?

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tiredwardsister · 18/09/2022 14:10

To put it into perspective £300 million is less than the cost of running the NHS for 1 day so a drop in the ocean.
People endlessly bang on about this and the cost of managers etc draining the NHS of money but it’s the cost or caring for our ever increasing elderly population who have often complex needs that is currently draining the NHS of its very limited resources.
Just to add I’m not saying the elderly shouldn’t receive this care and it should be of the highest possible standard but that is what it causing the current financial difficulties and has for years. Until we receive more money this problem is just going to carry on getting worse year on year as we live longer but it healthier lives. .

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Testina · 18/09/2022 14:12

Tomorrowisalatterday · 18/09/2022 14:07

It is difficult to define health tourism.

I have cousins who live in a developing country, they are British citizens and come and stay with their parents a couple of times a year, they get all medical treatment they can, they even both came back to give birth to their kids. I don't know that they would show up on "health tourism" stats because they are British citizens and put their name on various things at their parents' house in order to claim residence.

I think that’s exactly the type of thing that is included in the estimates of Health Tourism, if not the actual £ accounts.

Would I be right in thinking the British Citizenship / developing country combo points to a colonial past?

Cos I’d throw that one at OP’s mum.
Cost to NHS, 1x C Section and care, £xxxx
Monies to date extracted from said ex-colony, £billions

Just to get her blustering.

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Allthegoodnamesarechosen · 18/09/2022 14:14

Kendodd · 18/09/2022 13:50

Do we know how much British residents have spent on healthcare abroad?

There is a difference between non Brits arriving in Britain and receiving free NHS treatment to which they have made no contributions, and British citizens travelling to another country to BUY treatment which is specifically advertised in the UK to UK citizens. One is a business the other is freeloading ( or we might say, theft)

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gogohmm · 18/09/2022 14:14

Health tourism includes British citizens living overseas who kept their U.K. gp (surgery quite aware in the case I know of) because they paid taxes "all their lives" it's not just people coming from abroad who aren't British. I know someone who lives overseas (20+ years) but had all 4 kids on the nhs and all are registered as living in the U.K. at grandparents Hmm

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woodhill · 18/09/2022 14:15

Unfortunately yes and it needs to be tightened up

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