Politics - Health Tourism

Nigel Farage was vilified on ITV, during the party leader’s debate, for daring to suggest that people with HIV, and other diseases, such as Hepatitis B, should not be allowed to have free treatment on the NHS. Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood actually said he should be ‘ashamed’ of himself for suggesting it.

We all heard it, didn’t we? Except that’s not what he said. The suggestion that people with HIV should not be allowed to enter the UK was actually a suggestion proposed by 20 Tory back-benchers in an amendment to the recent Immigration Bill – thankfully defeated by the other MP’s.

What Nigel actually said was that people entering the UK should have adequate health insurance, as we do when going to the USA, Australia and on most holidays, and that we should not be treating people who arrive in the UK with HIV and do not have the appropriate cover.

To all who oppose this idea, I would ask a simple question. If the NHS is not a bottomless pit would you rather treat one visitor with arrives here knowing they have HIV, or vaccinate 1000 children against meningitis, a disease that can kill within 48 hours of diagnosis. In my personal opinion this should include all children arriving in the UK as well as those already living here.

A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times shows that 50% of people support Nigel Farage’s stance that there should not be free treatment on the NHS for immigrants coming to the UK with HIV.

A UKIP spokesman said: “This poll finding shows yet again the disconnect that exists between the Westminster bubble and much of the population. Nigel Farage is the one leader who has the political courage to raise difficult issues and clearly millions of voters agree with that stance.”

The poll asked: “In the debate Nigel Farage highlighted the issue of immigrants with HIV coming to Britain and receiving treatment on the NHS. Would you support or oppose people coming to live in the UK being banned from receiving treatment on the NHS for a period of five years?”

Half the public, 50%, agreed with Nigel Farage’s and UKIP’s stance with 34% opposed and 16% unsure.

If the choice were to have been my previous question about the choice of HIV treatment or vaccination of children, I am sure the results would have been even more conclusively in agreement with UKIP’s position.

John E Saxon

UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Gainsborough