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Concern at migrant healthcare charges

Proposals for an extended charging system for migrants and short-term visitors attempting to access healthcare in the UK could cause unintended damage to NHS services, the trade union for doctors and medical students has warned.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said there is no evidence that income from charging short-term visitors or migrants would be sufficient to cover the significant cost of the increased bureaucracy necessary to run the system.

The union also warns that registering migrants at GP practices would increase the paperwork burden on already overstretched services.

Earlier this year, health officials revealed plans to charge foreigners who come to the UK hundreds of pounds a year to access NHS treatment.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council, said: "The BMA believes that anyone accessing NHS services should be eligible to do so, but the Government's plans for extending charging to migrants and short-term visitors are impractical, uneconomic and inefficient".

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