HC Deb 14 October 1991 vol 196 c81W
Mr. Darling

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what considerations underlay his decision to issue new instructions to immigration officers and port medical officers about dealing with people who are suspected of being HIV positive or having developed AIDS;

(2) what instructions have been issued to (a) immigration officers and (b) medical inspectors at ports about dealing with applications for leave to enter from people who are suspected of being HIV positive or living with AIDS; and whether he will publish these instructions.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Department of Health guidance to port medical inspectors of health is issued in the form of executive letters. These letters have a limited lifespan to ensure that they are regularly updated or destroyed if they no longer apply. Guidance was issued to port medical inspectors of health in May 1991 PL/CMO(91)6) a copy of which is available in the Library, because the previous executive letter had expired.

The guidance provides information for port medical inspectors of health on the action to take should the immigration service ask for a report upon a passenger seeking entry to the United Kingdom who has, or is suspected to have, AIDS or other illnesses associated with HIV infection.

The guidance informs port medical inspectors of health that HIV infection, including AIDS, should not in itself be considered justification for a recommendation on public health grounds to refuse leave to enter the United Kingdom. It provides information on how the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Amendment Regulations 1988 apply to HIV and AIDS services, and provides guidance to ensure that confidentiality is maintained where a passenger with HIV infection is referred to a port medical inspector.

To avoid any confusion arising from recent misleading press coverage of the letter the Department of Health will issue a further executive letter amended to make its purpose more clear.