§ 37. Mr. Wilkins
asked the Minister of Health why statistics are not available in his Department as to how many foreign 23 visitors receive free medical and/or hospital treatment in Great Britain in any one year, and the costs of such treatment to his Department.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Julian Snow)
The number of overseas visitors receiving free treatment is not thought to be large enough to justify the work involved.
§ 38. Mr. Wilkins
asked the Minister of Health what is the annual average amount of money recovered in fees from foreign visitors who receive medical and/ or hospital treatment during their sojourn in Great Britain.
§ Mr. Wilkins
Is not this an extraordinary omission? Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the great public interest in the cost to the National Health Service of treatment of foreign visitors, especially at a time when we must impose prescription charges on our own people?
§ Sir J. Rodgers
As the Parliamentary Secretary has no idea of the number of foreign visitors who receive treatment free, nor what amount of money is expended on that treatment, how can he say that it is negligible?
§ Dr. Miller
Would not my hon. Friend agree, however, that reciprocal arrangements are developing in other countries 24 permitting treatment to be given free to British citizens there?
§ Dr. John Dunwoody
I agree that the problem is apparent rather than real. However, would not my hon. Friend agree that the solution lies in the extension of reciprocal agreements with other countries, such as those with Scandinavia and Yugoslavia? What progress has been made in this respect?