Austerity or xenophobia? The causes and costs of the hostile environment in the NHS

Shahvisi, Arianne (2019) Austerity or xenophobia? The causes and costs of the hostile environment in the NHS. Health Care Analysis. ISSN 1065-3058

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Abstract

During the “age of austerity” the UK government has progressively limited free health services for “overseas visitors” on the grounds of fairness and frugality. This is despite the fact that the cost of the additional bureaucracy required by the new system and the public health consequences are expected to exceed the sums saved. In this article I explore the interaction between the austerity discourse and xenophobic discourses as they relate to migrants’ access to healthcare. By examining the available data and adjudicating various moral arguments, I cast doubt on the claim that the current charging regulations are cost-effective and fair. I instead contend that if the UK is concerned with running a health service that is economically-sustainable and morally-defensible, it is critical that migrants are welcomed, both as staff and as patients. I conclude by arguing that xenophobia has precipitated changes to the health service which do not qualify as “austerity” in the way that is claimed, but rather deliberately produce a “hostile environment” for migrants, despite this very likely generating economic losses.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: austerity, NHS, migrants, cosmopolitanism, racism, xenophobia.
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Depositing User: Arianne Shahvisi
Date Deposited: 29 May 2019 10:32
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 13:02
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83991

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