back to article Stop slurping NHS data to enforce immigration laws? Not on your nellie, huffs UK Home Office

The NHS has said it will continue sharing data with the Home Office for immigration enforcement, despite MPs calling for the government to put an immediate stop to the transfer. The data-sharing deal, which was put on official footing in January last year and renewed in December, allows the NHS to hand over non-clinical …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bigots

    Tbh it’s nice to see that daily mail readers can get to such high levels of management within the NHS, it says a lot for the equal opportunities policies in current government.

    1. Stu Mac

      Re: Bigots

      Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

      "They argue it might stop migrants seeking medical help" is missing a crucial word. ILLEGAL.

      It's a national health service, not INTERNATIONAL. For those who pay into it.

      The NHS urgently need to reign itself in or collapse in the face of infinite demand.

      Got a problem, shouldn't be here? return home and seek help.

      Your country won't help? go into politics or lobby, at home.

      Pax Brittanica was a long time ago.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Bigots

        Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

        "They argue it might stop migrants seeking medical help" is missing a crucial word. ILLEGAL.

        It's a national health service, not INTERNATIONAL. For those who pay into it.

        What makes you think there is a correlation between people who 'pay into the NHS', people who are entitled to free treatment from the NHS, illegal immigrants and people who are suspicious of the Home Office?

      2. Adrian Midgley 1

        Re: Bigots

        You are quite confident of not suffering from someone else's untreated disease?

        Optimist.

        Your attitude to people is another matter on which I'll not discourse.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not to track down undocumented migrants

    they can say whatever they want to say, and do whatever they want to do :/

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can’t disagree with what they wrote back.

    It does sound really bad, but if they are only sharing info on people they are asked to share then it’s not as bad as just sending the HO everything.

    This is the thin edge of the whatever and can be abused later, but the committee asking questions will only get the right lasting results if they tackle this in the correct thorough way, which the responding bodies are clearly telling them they are not and they need to up theirs game. PHE etc can’t just be seen to be rolling over on this.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      if they are only sharing info on people they are asked to share then it’s not as bad as just sending the HO everything

      But, they will be sending everything so that the HO can trawl through it to see if anyone of interest is in it. But there's two problems falsely dimissed by the reply :

      1) Even if the data is only what they say it is, and only used for what they say it will be, we have to assume that this will change. History tells us that if the data is there, then people will want to use it regardless of whether it's "right" or not.

      2) Even if we trust that only the data and use is as described, the problem is caused by what people think might be shared and what it think be used for. No amount of official assurances will get round that problem, because too many people are conditioned to 1 above !

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      "This is the thin edge of the whatever "

      Correct.

      As old Vladimir Illych like to observe "Push in the bayonet. If it meets fat, push harder."

      And note the implied "F**k you, Committee, who do you think you are? You're just the people's elected representatives, we're the Home Office and the Department of Health" in those letters.

      So, once again the Home Office can't do it's job and expects someone else to wipe its mess up.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "It does sound really bad, but if they are only sharing info on people they are asked to share then it’s not as bad as just sending the HO everything."

      I thought the counter-argument orignally used was if someone who'se here illegally knows they are sharing data, they might fail to seek treatment - if said person have a communicable diseasae (of the notifiable kind), this would be bad for public health.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone else wonder if there is a background government plotting and ignoring the actual government or at least part of it?

    This to me appears that they have been told not to do something but care not and it's something running through a lot of the government these days.

    I was using my tin foil to cook fish in the oven with garlic and cayenne pepper but now I'm thinking it may have other uses.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      It has been this way for a while.

      The government considers itself above the law, but they try to pretend that this is Parliamentary Sovereignty rather than just bloody-minded arrogance. Then, when even Parliament starts to whine about it (as in this case), the executive continue to ignore them because parties know that they can whip enough MPs through the lobbies to avoid any punishments.

      The only threats these people understand are legal ones. A minister who actually breaks the law might end up losing their seat as an MP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They never lose their seat as an MP but rather their ministerial position for a while.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Does anyone else wonder if there is a background government plotting and ignoring the actual government or at least part of it?

      When was the last time you watched "Yes Minister"?

    3. Someone Else Silver badge

      Does anyone else wonder if there is a background government plotting and ignoring the actual government or at least part of it?

      Oh, come on, already. The Deep State™ is a purely American concoction of the troubled and paranoid "mind" of its putative "leader".

      Oh, wait a minute....

  5. Jove Bronze badge

    If they are immigrants why are they getting services from the NHS? They must pay - another failing of the NHS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Immigrants, on average, more than pay their way in this country.

      Treating infectious diseases helps everyone in this country, born here or not.

      That's ignoring the moral argument: if we can help someone, we should.

      1. Handle123456

        If you help someone, more will come and they'll all request more, until those who pay for all that can't take it any more no matter the amount of propaganda and yelling.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Spoken like a true Snowflake!

        If immigrants pay tax and NI contributions they are entitled to NHS care and this data sharing won't affect them. How on earth does treating an immigrant with an infectious disease help anyone in this country? Keeping them out and protecting the people in this country is in our best interests!. Lastly, whether you like it or not, finances are finite. The NHS can't treat the whole world, it's delusional naive and stupid to think you can.

  6. martinusher Silver badge

    Tricky

    I have a UK passport which claims I have 'the right of abode' in the UK. I actually live in the US so when I visit the UK I present a US passport which then gets stamped with 'No right to employment / no recourse to public funds' . This is pretty much standard wherever you go -- if you're not a legal resident of a country then you can't claim benefits that are provided to people who are. (In the US this gets taken one stage further -- you can't claim anything unless you're a citizen. In theory.)

    Anyway, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that people who are not in the country legally -- aren't citizens or otherwise have permission to be there -- shouldn't be using public facilities and if they do then they're likely to get a) billed (the NHS does this -- or didn't you know?) and b) reported to other parts of the government (its all integrated in the UK -- or didn't you know?).

    Incidentally, compared to most countries living undocumented in both the UK and US is relatively easy which is why, presumably, they're the preferred target for informal immigration.

    1. MrZoolook

      Re: Tricky

      Informal immigration? You mean illegal, right?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tricky

      "No right to employment". Anyone who states such things should read the UN declaration of human rights. A declaration which the country has signed.

      1. Stu Mac

        Re: Tricky

        The UN. ROFL. Really!

  7. DavCrav Silver badge

    "damage the public's trust in doctor-patient confidentiality."

    Doctor-patient confidentiality is about what you are suffering from, not whether or not you are a patient.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "Doctor-patient confidentiality is about what you are suffering from, not whether or not you are a patient."

      Quite often, one can infer one from the other, so declaring "X is a patient of Y" can actually lead to a pretty informed guess at the problem ...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google DeepMind

    that is all.

  9. x 7 Silver badge

    theres one major downside to this.....it stops immigrant prostitutes from accessing any kind of sexual health care. No birth control, no STI screening.

    Some clinics ignore the rules and screen under false names, but because of those who don't you end up with a pool of vulnerable women, often trafficked, who need help but can't access it for fear of deportation

    1. Medical Cynic

      Most if not all GUM clinics [Genito-Urinary medicine - VD as was] see patients anonymously, using a local clinic number for continuity ID.

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        "Most if not all GUM clinics [Genito-Urinary medicine - VD as was] see patients anonymously, using a local clinic number for continuity ID."

        may be true of some, but not all

        and how are the girls supposed to tell them apart?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the home office wants the NHS to provide data on persons claiming but not entitled to free care the answer is simple: pay the NHS trust a substantial fee for each referral. What trust financial director won't jump at the chance to get more £££.

  11. Handle123456

    What? Attempting to ensure the rule of law? Bah, Not in current world.

    "data is only shared to trace "known immigration offenders" that have ceased contact with the Home Office, they note, not to track down undocumented migrants."

    And that's exactly what the problem is. It's not used the way it should be. It's not used to find breaches of law and handle them. Only the citizens are supposed to follow the law, the migrants can jolly well do anything they please. Any attempt to track them down will be shot down by "human rights activists".

    1. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: What? Attempting to ensure the rule of law? Bah, Not in current world.

      I don;t care if they are "legal" or not. On the official website here we see that the purpose of the NHS is so that " good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth."

      It says nothing about Daily Mail driven politicians limiting who should and should not be here so that anyone with the wrong religion, too much sun tan or the wrong ancestors can be kept out or punished for these sins.

      If they are sick, they should be healed.

  12. Uberseehandel

    If a nation wants a health service that functions, and is trusted by its citizens, and is on top of health risks to the population at large (think risk of TB from eastern Europeans and illegals), then everybody legal and illegal must trust it.

    The reality is that the NHS database(s) are designed to leak, by people whose specialty is "public safety". Those are the same people who do stuff for the police.

    The reality is that in order to fulfil its public health obligations, the NHS needs to keep track of the health of illegals as well as legals, which ain't going to happen if the illegals think that going to the doctor/hospital increases the risk of being picked up by the immigration service.

    A national health service that I know well only reports to the police patients who present with gunshot injuries. everybody knows that, data is much better, but members of extended immigrant families tend to share the legal family member's documentation, which creates amusing situations over a busy weekend, so a seventy year old retired male can present as pregnant, concussed playing football, slashed in a knife fight and suffering from wheel chair user's RSI.

  13. Someone Else Silver badge
    Devil

    Translation...

    Both letters state that the parties take confidentiality seriously and acknowledge the importance of public trust in the health service - while repeatedly leaning on the argument that the information released is non-clinical.

    "We take confidentially seriously" always translates to, "We don't give a flying fuck about confidentially, unless it's our confidentiality, or unless someone finds out about the fact that we don't give a flying fuck about confidentiality, and that causes us some level of embarrassment."

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