You may remember that in the Autumn of 2017, Asylum Matters and our local and national partners – including City of Sanctuary – campaigned against the extension of NHS charging for overseas visitors in England. We succeeded in securing a House of Lords debate about the changes which led directly to the Government committing to conduct a formal review of the regulations, with a particular focus on the impact on vulnerable groups. The regulations extend NHS charging for certain groups – including refused asylum seekers – into community healthcare services in England and, for the first time, introduce up-front charging, meaning if a person cannot pay in advance, healthcare can be withheld if it is not deemed urgent or immediately necessary.
 
The formal review is open until the end of this month and we would strongly encourage any organisations or individuals with evidence of the impact of the new charging regulations on refugees and people seeking asylum (or other vulnerable groups) to submit it.
 
The deadline for submitting evidence to the review is 31 January 2018. All submissions should be made to Alex Sinclair at Department of Health:[email protected]ukThe review questions can be found attached here.
 
The briefing note from Doctors of the World and Asylum Matters aims to provide individuals and organisations who intend to make a submission to the review with some pointers about what kind of information and evidence may be useful to include. Department of Health have said they “will consider all types of evidence, including quantitative data, case studies and personal experience.”
 
A number of stakeholders have expressed concerns about the limited scope and short timeframe of the review, which may affect the quantity and quality of the evidence that can be provided. The attached briefing note outlines this in more detail and includes some suggested caveats related to the review’s limitations which would apply to all submissions of evidence.
 
Not planning on making a submission? If you’re aware of cases which demonstrate an impact of the new regulations on refugees and people seeking asylum, please share them with Estelle at Asylum Matters ([email protected] |  07557983264) so we can include them in our joint submission.