1. Health Tourism
Possibly the most emotionally-charged, and unfortunately unfounded, debates around the EU has been the concept of “health tourism”: EU and other migrants coming to the UK to leech off our already struggling public healthcare system. But is it true?
The honest answer is, there are definitely some exploits of the NHS by foreign nationals. However, the cost of this is absorbed by the international patients who pay – evidence from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of York, using government-commissioned research, shows that there are twice as many paying patients as there are so-called “health tourists.”
If you're confused by the deluge of numbers that have been banded about by press and government officials alike (many of which are wildly different), here is what the government's own studies have to say.
Britain has between 5,000-20,000 “health tourists” per year, at a cost of £60-£80m – 0.06% of the annual NHS budget
18 reviewed NHS trusts showed a profit of £42m from foreign nationals paying for healthcare; there are approximately 530 NHS trusts in the UK, including 161 acute trusts, 56 mental health trusts, and 10 ambulance trusts