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Right - or wrong?

Betsan Powys | 13:07 UK time, Tuesday, 20 May 2008

pledge3.jpgDo the Conservatives support Edwina Hart's move to give failed asylum seekers free healthcare or not?

You tell me.

Jonathan Morgan, the Shadow Health Spokesperson, has put out a press release saying this:

"In emergency cases where urgent medical attention is required, of course the NHS should be there for people. Primary care should also be available to a point where someone falls ill.

"However, we are firmly against the policy of allowing 'health tourism' to flourish. Those who are not supposed to be in this country should not be entitled to the benefits that citizenship of Great Britain affords, including elective treatment and surgery.

"The NHS in Wales already has huge challenges facing it. The very last thing we should do is stretch the capacity of the service so that just about anyone in the world can use it.

"The fact that the NHS in England is taking legal action to prevent such abuses, and that the Welsh Assembly Government seems happy to allow those abuses in Wales, will only place more strain on the service."

On balance I'd say that's a no.

Jonathan Evans MEP, Prospective Parliamentary Candiadate for Cardiff North at the next General Election is taking the same line.

But didn't their Welsh Party leader, Nick Bourne, sign up to the 'We'll keep a welcome" campaign before last year's Assembly Elections? In fact weren't all four party leaders united in their support for it?

And didn't pledge number 3: Provide fair and equal access to services come with a helpful briefing for those who signed up to it, a briefing that included this line:

"In signing our pledge cards, candidates commit to giving asylum seekers whose claims have been refused exemption from charges for treatment by the National Health Service Trusts."

It did.

So did Nick Bourne sign up to the pledge card?

The photograph, on this occasion, seems to say it all.


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  • 1. At 5:13pm on 20 May 2008, harrowingdunn wrote:

    I find it quite remarkable that the longest Betsan's Blog specifically given over to a Tory Story is one relating to bad news. When their local government figures jumped so dramatically just a few weeks ago, it was passed over with barely a mention. No analysis was offered of where, how or why they saw their total number of councillors more than double and also how they came to equal the Labour Party's tally of councils and easily outpace the tally of Lib Dem and Plaid Cymru Councils (a grand total of 0, I believe). No review of how this might impact on Assembly and Westminster elections - just a mention of the figure. I have long suspected a Labour bias in this blog and this continues to be my suspicion - especially given the rather gleeful greeting of this Tory muddle. I am sure that we will all be reassured as to the balance and lack of bias shown by the Political Staff of the BBC - I remain to be convinced.

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  • 2. At 5:35pm on 20 May 2008, NeoFoucault wrote:

    Come on 'harrowingdunn' it is practically impossible to be unbiased when it comes to one's political stance, beliefs or committments. Especially, for reporters for are drawn to this arena for their career. Go and re-read Nick Robinson's blog in England, and you tell me if he is not a 'true blue' through and through...

    The question Betan raises is a legitimate one: Do the Conservatives believe, or not, that the most vulnerable in our country should get a basic, human need, such as healthcare? It does seem from the photo that they did? Have they changed their minds? Fine if they have, just be honest and articulate why they have?

    I agree with you point that Labour took a 'hit' from the recent local authority elections. However, this was covered at some length by Betsan.

    Next, if I was guessing, I think she is more likely to be a 'Plaid Girlie' than a 'Labour Lass' ha ha.

    Lastly, you failed to share your own views with us: Should we, or should we not? I am open to the possibility that I could be wrong. But it seems like a (very) basic human need to be and Edwina is spot on!!

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  • 3. At 10:09am on 21 May 2008, BLUESNIK wrote:

    Tough on Tories, tough on the causes etc.

    Thought Felicity (R.Wales) gave Johnathan ample chance to explain himself as a caring, sharing Tory, now tacking rightwards (look out David Davis!)...and then let him hang himself over the lack any logic in his position. Firmly and Politely. He sounded VERY flustered. Tough on fluster etc.

    And he's one of the "brighter" ones.

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  • 4. At 10:56am on 21 May 2008, Ian wrote:

    The Tories current position on this issue completely contradicts Nick Bourne's statement-fair and square.
    When I heard Edwina's statement, I felt rather rpoud that Wales had taken such a humanitarian stance. The actual cost to the Welsh NHS will in fact be next to nothing as there are very few failed asylum seekers in Wales and even fewer requiring NHS services, nor is there evidence of a likely flood of health tourists.
    As failed asylum seekers, they are also due to be deported so why are people so upset by this pledge? This has all come about from the disgraceful treatment of a failed asylum seeker forced out of Wales while going through cancer treatment to pro-long her life. She was arrested and stuck on a plane back home and died in great pain before treatment could be sourced in her own country, despite the promises of the UK Government.
    The Tories can afford to move to their right wing comfort zone because Labour are such a shambles at UK level. We need a Welsh Parliament now more than ever, if this is a taste of what is to come from a Tory UK Government.

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  • 5. At 10:23am on 22 May 2008, Antoinette4Delyn wrote:

    ianapharri misses the point when she says "there are very few failed asylum seekers in Wales". If the Labour Government in England is putting in place legislation which means that asylum seekers can not access healthcare in England and at the same time a Labour administration in Cardiff says that all asylum seekers are entitled to treatment then the Labour Government creates an inherent contradiction which will mean there is a real incentive for failed asylum seekers to locate to Wales. It is clear from the position in North Wales that there are already a number of UK citizens who are being refused access to cancer drugs which can help save or prolong their lives. This is mainly due to the budget constraints on the health trusts, and the fact that 37 million pounds has been spent on the free prescriptions policy. These people have spent years contributing to the NHS through their taxes. Labour have created this anomaly through their policies and it has arisen because we have a limited pot of tax payers money to pay for treatment. If a failed asylum seeker wants IVF treatment should an NHS trust be forced to pay for it. In my view they should not. One thing is certain it is not the Conservatives that have created this problem and Jonathan Morgan is quite right to point out the problems that this decision will create.

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  • 6. At 5:53pm on 22 May 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Giving health-care to illegal immigrants is not a
    very bright idea! But if they come to the United Kingdom, illegally, then they be given health-care and then deported..

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  • 7. At 11:08pm on 23 May 2008, Ian wrote:

    No-one is talking about giving IVF to illegal immigrants. This is clearly about treatment for life threatening conditions or everyday treatment.
    In terms of deporting them after treatment, then I have no problem with this if they are illegal immigrants and have gone through all the appeal stages.
    Maybe I will have to re-assess my views if there is a flood of illegal immigrants with terminal cancer queuing at Heath Hospital but with respect, this is far more likely to end up on the front page of the Daily Mail than to actually happen.

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