HC Deb 07 May 1956 vol 552 cc813-4
28. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Health if he will give an assurance that no person, of whatever nationality, who falls ill while in this country will be denied free treatment under the National Health Service.

Mr. Turton

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 30th April to my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. Remnant).

Mr. Robinson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I am trying to give him an opportunity of clearing up some misapprehension to which that reply gave rise? Is he aware that someone who falls ill while in this country cannot possibly be guilty of abuse of the service? Is he not prepared to give this limited assurance that he will continue this practical example of the good neighbour policy?

Mr. Turton

I think it would be unwise at the moment to say anything more than that the whole question of the treatment of foreigners is under review. I would, however, say that undoubtedly there would be a great administrative difficulty in making the emergency treatment of a foreigner subject to payment

Mr. Blenkinsop

Surely the right hon. Gentleman will say something more than that? A flagrant case of someone coming over to this country specifically to get free treatment may be a matter to check on, but if someone is in this country, on holiday or for some other reason, and needs treatment, surely in his case there can be no doubt at all of the acceptance of responsibility by the National Health Service?

Mr. Turton

I am disinclined to make a statement while the matter is under review, but I shall be ready to do so when the review is completed

Mr. Remnant

Will my right hon. Friend appreciate to the full that it is not a question of facilities being available, but whether these people should not pay for them when there are no reciprocal arrangements in their countries?

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