The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/7)

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Use of National Health Service by Aliens

Use of National Health Service by Aliens

A.B. 

No ques. of law.  ….. (out of room for a time)….

J.G. 

Reciprocity. Want to go ahead on narrow specific points – wide genl. talks get us nowhere. Want to go ahead with present agreement.

A.B. 

I agree.

A.W. 

Many foreigners come to Edinburgh for special operations. And pre-schemes, he got it free in R. Infirmary under their charter. Can't give worse treatment under N.H. Scheme.
But there are abuses. e.g. patients coming fr. Jersey to Guys.
In 1st year 1.860 foreigners consulted g.p.s – small no cpd. with f. visitors to Edinburgh Festival. That costs nthg. In drugs, prob, under £500.
Dentists: 34 in July (incldg. 3 B. subjects on leave & 10 f. seamen). Cost £106. Spot check. Only one denture. July: 17 sight-tests £12.  no specs. provided. Hospitals: 50 in the year.
Not therefore a serious problem qua size.  Adminve complicns of dealing with it.
Believe it will die away.
Wtr. we shd. advertise it to visitors is another ques.

H.M. 

This was important policy point because of political controversy.  Yet attentn was not drawn to it, in advance, in Cabinet. Or Legn Cttee on the Bill.
Applicants cd. have bn. made to sign decln tht. they are B. subjects.
Even if service is to be available to foreigners: they might become a traffic in this & we shd. then have to deal with it. Must watch it.
My main complaint is tht. issues of policy with political implications were not brought up for discn with colleagues in Cab or Cttees.
Look at the leaflet.

A.B. 

This isn't addressed to foreigners – it's to all populn.

H.M. 

Why throw it at aliens when they got identity cards. (para. 3 of 206)
Why include x/ on front page of leaflet.
Why push these facilities at foreigners.
Do we need to go on distributing these to foreigners?

H.H.M. 

All appliances etc., supplied by M/P.
Limbs, eyes & tricycles [sic] only do we deal direct with patients.
8 cases – of which 6 wd. be controversial politically.
Greatest risk of abuse is fr. Eire – increased visitors to Belfast.
We have means of checkg. abuse.  We did stop one Dane from getting artificial leg for nothing.

A.B.

Less humane than mediaeval practice.

J. 

Law requires us to provide the facilities for anyone who is here.
H.O. cd. impose condn or refuse leave to land.  But once landed they are entitled to the facilities.

A.B. 

On point about Cab. Cttee etc., agree tht. ques. of pol. controversy shd. come fwd. but it's Minister's discretion to decide what is likely to prove controversial.  Had I known this wd. be so controversial I wd. have omitted x/ from leaflet.
Am prepd to consider amendg. legn, to enable me to discriminate against non-residents.

R.S.C. 

That is the way to do it.  Take power to discriminate – power to make a charge on non-residents.

A.B. 

Might put it in current Bill.
Agreed.  1)  M/H. to consider amendg. legn.
               2) M/N.I. to go on with current agreement.

Taken from C.M. 59(49) - Meeting held on 18 October 1949.