The Sun doesn’t care if your babies die, the British taxpayer shouldn’t pay

Health tourism hysteria is out of control


The Sun’s obsession with health tourism reaches new heights today, as the paper attacks a Nigerian woman who recently gave birth to quadruplets, having gone into labour on a flight to the UK.

‘500K HEALTH TOURIST’ the front page screams, claiming that the woman ‘jetted in for NHS care’, and British taxpayers were footing the bill.

The small print? Two of the woman’s babies have died — one immediately and one days later — and the surviving two remain in intensive care.

While the writers — Jen Pharo and Nick McDermott — mince their words, as does quoted MP Peter Bone, the implication is clear: the Sun believes that saving newborns’ lives is an unacceptable burden on the British taxpayer.

What’s more, read past the front page and it becomes clear that Priscilla, the woman in question, was not an NHS ‘health tourist’ at all. She was planning to give birth in the US, but was turned away at the border and went into Labour on a connecting flight to Heathrow.

Priscilla appears on tonight’s episode of the BBC2 documentary ‘Hospital’. The producers filmed her conversation with an NHS ‘overseas visitor manager’ — which is what they call people whose job is to harass sick and bereaved foreigners in British hospitals.

Although the Tories are obsessed with health tourism — Theresa May wants all NHS users to have to show their passports — it’s a minor problem in the context of the vast funding crisis facing the NHS.

The government’s disproportionate response is less about healthcare, more about its anti-immigration vendetta.

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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3 Responses to “The Sun doesn’t care if your babies die, the British taxpayer shouldn’t pay”

  1. NHSGP

    1, Charge all economic migrants to the UK 3K a year for the NHS. Tax deductible. No one is worse off because they are all net contributors.

    2. Tourists have to show health insurance to come here.

    You can’t have free movement and free at the point of use services. Pick one, any one.

    The public choose the NHS over migration. Now that needs to be pushed through.

    On the Priscilla case.

    How was she going to pay US health costs? So she’s got the money. Why shouldn’t the NHS get her to pay?

    Or perhaps she was planning on not paying her US health costs? ie. Out to commit fraud.

  2. Craig Mackay

    Many countries require evidence of health insurance for entry. Even from the EU, visitors without a job intending to stay for more than three months can be required to have health insurance and sufficient finance for their stay. Sadly for six years the Home Secretary, one Theresa May, couldn’t be bothered introducing the rules that the EU permits for managing and constraining the free movement of people within the EU. Indeed it is the consequence of this negligence that has led us to the present position where a significant part of the population (and of course the rabid right wing media) feel that immigration of any sort is purely for the purposes of bleeding our NHS dry. This has been very effectively done by recent governments and the reality is that immigrants account for a negligible additional burden to the NHS.
    There is more about this at:

  3. Michael WALKER

    I am all in favour of the UK helping others..

    All those in favour of providing free healthcare to visitors can pay more taxes.. there is a method of doing so simply.Strangely enough when I asked Labour supporters to do so, no-one respsonmded positively.

    You really are attempting to kill of support for good causes by going OTT on everything – and are doing a great job. Brexit happened and the Labour Party are struggling because a metropolitan elite care about everyone but their own citizens..

    Next you will be complaining the NHS is underfunded.

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