Over three years ago, the NHS trust implemented upfront charges for migrants, a move which has been highly criticised and that the ‘Save Lewisham Hospital’ group has been fighting against since it started.
After widespread publicity on Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust in 2019, the Trust launched an Inquiry led by an independent chair, into its use of the Experian database to check patients’ finance records in order to establish residence status. The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign had raised many questions with the Trust and some members of the Campaign including their Chair, Lewisham GP Dr Louise Irvine and Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public, are included in the Inquiry Panel, as well as Council and Trust representatives, and Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network. The Inquiry began in January and there was a very positive Day 1 on 27 January.
Understandably the March, May and June Panel meeting were cancelled as the Trust organised to meet the challenge of Covid-19. In late 2020, the Panel meetings recommenced. Part of the Inquiry has been for members of the Inquiry to visit other Trusts. One visit has been held and already there has been some valuable information gained.
Placard protest to mark introduction 3 years ago of upfront charges for migrants
Towards the end of last year, on Friday 23 October at 8am, members of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign held a socially distanced placard protest together with Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network against the government’s hostile environment in the NHS.
The protest was quieter than usual due to Covid-19 safety precautions but it was good to stand there in solidarity together.
Chants and placards included phrases such as: End charges for migrants in the NHS! End the hostile environment! Healthcare is a human right!
The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign believes that now, more than ever, it is vital to end the hostile environment in the NHS and ensure unfettered access for everyone to free health care.
You can read more here: http://www.savelewishamhospital.com/migrant-charges/