2018-03-11 12:24:13 UTC
We're all opposed to "health tourism" and we want our NHS to provide
treatment that's free at the point of use, for our own citizens.
Here's a worrying new phenomenon. There are people in the UK who have
lived here for most of their lives but are unable to prove to our
government that they are entitled to NHS treatment. For them, it's worse
than living in America because there's no free cancer treatment
available no matter how poor they are.
Thompson has lived in London for 44 years, having arrived from Jamaica
as a teenager, and although he has worked as a mechanic and paid taxes
for more than three decades, the Home Office is disputing his
eligibility to remain.
Official suspicion about his immigration status led to him being evicted
last summer, and he was homeless for three weeks. His disputed status
has also led to free healthcare being denied. Because he has no savings
and no way of paying £54,000, he says he is not receiving the cancer
treatment he needs.
The 63-year-old, who asked for his real name not to be printed on legal
advice, is another victim of an unfolding scandal around the treatment
by the Home Office of a group of people who arrived in the UK as
children from Commonwealth countries. This cohort grew up believing
themselves to be British, only to discover in a rapidly hardening
immigration climate that they need documentary proof of their right to
be here, which many do not have.