YP Letters: NHS number a much better form of patient ID

From: Coun Tim Mickleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

Should non-UK citizens receive free access to the NHS?

THERE is talk of getting people to show their passports before accessing NHS services. This is to try and clamp down on what is called health tourism.

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Trouble is, not all UK citizens have a passport. I don’t, nor a driving licence. So sometimes I have difficult in proving my legal identity, despite being born in this country to parents born in this country whose parents (my grandparents) were also born in this country! Perhaps it’d be easier to give our NHS number, which I learnt yesterday is on each prescription we receive, or our National Insurance number.

From: John Fisher, Menwith Hill.

THE attempt to make non-residents in this country pay for NHS treatment will require more than identity checks when obtaining treatment in a British hospital. The majority of the countries visited by tourists insist on proof of medical insurance on entering the country or when applying for a visa. I am not aware of any country other than the UK that provides free medical care to allcomers. The fact that none of our hospitals appear equipped to process any payment for the treatment of non-UK citizens describes the financial naivety of successive governments.