The mark of a civilized society


I'm sure I'm just one voice in a large choir, but I want to mark my appreciation of Edwina Hart's decision to allow failed asylum seekers to receive free treatment on the Welsh NHS. The story broke over a year ago when the UK government went to court to enforce a charging policy which they introduced in 2004:

     The right thing to do - Betsan Powys' Blog, 19 May 2008
     Failed asylum seekers' free NHS - BBC, 20 May 2008

I must say that I thought this had all been sorted back then, and I'm sure that for practical purposes it was. I can only guess it needed time to be properly formalized ... and today is the day. Sadly the position has not changed in England.


That is not to say that I condone failed asylum seekers remaining in the UK. I firmly believe that (after all the due processes, including appeal, have been conducted) failed asylum seekers should move on or be deported, except in rare cases where there might be compassionate or humanitarian grounds for them to stay.

I also think that a failed asylum seeker who cannot return because it would be unsafe for them to go back (which is quite often the case) is a contradiction in terms. If it is unsafe for them to be in their home country then that appears to me to be what asylum is all about.

However it is not the job of the NHS to police the asylum system ... that's the job of the UK Border Agency. For as long as asylum seekers are here, it is right that we should take care of their basic health needs.

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Sweet and Tender Hooligan said...

hey dude...

Good to see you CAN write posts that dont take ages to read! *jokes*...

MH said...

To update Oscar Wilde, "I don't usually have time to write short posts, so you have to put up with long ones instead."

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