Our stark warning to the Department of Health on the consequences of up-front charging for NHS care. Full response at the link here JCWI Warning to Department of Health and Social Care. 

As with the recent furore about Windrush, these charging regulations will have a number of clear and foreseeable consequences. You have already been warned and provided evidence of all of them, but for your convenience we will summarise them here:

1. There will be systemic discrimination on grounds of race across NHS funding services;
2. Individuals will be wrongly denied urgent care & some will suffer injury or even death as a result;
3. Individuals will be wrongly deterred from accessing care with the same consequences;
4. The exemption system will not be properly understood or applied, exacerbating points 2 & 3 above;
5. Doctors and nurses placed in impossible positions by unclear and self-contradictory guidance will face disciplinary action and lawsuits through no fault of their own;
6. The charging system will not save the NHS any non-negligible sum, and may even cost more than it saves.

We remain astonished that the Department of Health has put no systems in place to monitor these impacts, and instead is asking a group of largely underfunded organisations, with limited institutional access, who often face resistance from officials when attempting to obtain information, to do its monitoring for it.It is also simply disingenuous for the Department of Health to suggest these risks and impacts are somehow speculative or unproven. They are the natural logical and inevitable consequences of the policies and regulations that you have chosen to impose.

Action for the Department of Health to take.

1. Immediately suspend up-front charging and the extension of charging into community services.
2. Institute an independent evaluation into the impact of the 2015 charging regulations on migrants’ access to healthcare.