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The Right to Healthcare: A Critical Examination of the Human Right of Irregular Migrants to Access State-Funded HIV/AIDS Treatment in the UKHand, David; Davies, Chantal; Healey, Ruth L.; University of Chester (Springer, 2015-11)The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (‘NHS’) emerged in the post-war era as part of a joint European effort to consolidate key social rights such as the right to health. To this end, the NHS pledged to provide a ‘comprehensive health service’ imparting health services free of charge at the point of delivery. It is true that, for the most part, the NHS has fulfilled its intended role and has offered its valuable services free of charge irrespective of the patient’s background. On the other hand legislation has always permitted ‘the making and recovery of charges [for health services]’ where ‘expressly provided for’ in the Act in question. Irregular migrants are ‘foreign nationals who do not comply with immigration law requirements.’ They carry the more familiar label of ‘illegal immigrants’ in everyday parlance. That term is avoided here partly because of its (largely erroneous) associations with criminality, but primarily because of the stigmatising and dehumanising effects that such epithets bear on the individual concerned. For these reasons the more neutral term ‘irregular migrant’ is preferred by some authors and is used throughout this chapter. Irregular migrants include clandestine entrants into the country, those in possession of falsified travel documents such as passports, those who have overstayed their visas or who are in employment contrary to their conditions of residence, and refused asylum seekers.
The Right to Healthcare: a critical examination of the restrictions on access to state funded HIV/AIDS treatment for irregular migrantsHand, David; Davies, Chantal; Healey, Ruth L.; University of Chester (Springer, 2015-12-15)In the UK health care legislation has progressively restricted the rights of irregular migrants to access free medical treatment. Policy discussions concerning allocation of health resources have typically been framed by a perceived need to discourage overseas patients from “taking advantage” of the National Health Service (NHS) – a practise pejoratively known as “health tourism”. This has been particularly true in the context of HIV/AIDS for which treatment is often prohibitively expensive in other countries. Here we undertake a comparative review of health care legislation in the UK and other jurisdictions, looking at how such legislation is shaped by immigration policy, and the extent to which irregular migrants who suffer from HIV/AIDS are able to access treatment. We argue that evidence simply does not support the omnipresent belief that “health tourism” poses a threat to the financial integrity of the NHS.