Medical guide for migrants slammed
London Mayor Boris Johnson has been accused of encouraging so-called health tourism over a guide telling foreign visitors they would not need to prove their immigration status to register with a GP.
The document for refugees and migrants, which is available online in 20 languages, says general practices can register patients without any proof of identity and without the patient having to prove he or she is in the UK legally.
City Hall denied promoting health tourism or distributing the guide to illegal immigrants, but the campaign group Migration Watch UK branded the booklet an "absolute disgrace" and called for its immediate recall.
Sir Andrew Green, the group's chairman, said Mr Johnson risks turning the NHS into an "international health service paid for by the British taxpayer".
"To encourage this further pressure on an already overstretched service is an absolute disgrace and will be greeted with anger by UK taxpayers," he said.
"What other country in the world would register someone for free medical treatment without any documents at all?"
He continued: "From primary care it is a small (and poorly policed) step to secondary care in hospitals.
"We call on the mayor to withdraw the booklet and we call on the Government to take effective steps to restrict NHS access, except for emergencies, to those who have contributed to it."
A Greater London Authority spokeswoman said: "This booklet was designed to clarify for Londoners the existing NHS guidelines on how best to access healthcare.
"They have not been distributed abroad and City Hall does not promote health tourism."