By Christian Smith – Senior reporter, Denisaurus
A senior official in the Department of Health has told MPs that he was looking at making hospitals check patients’ ID so as to prove if they are eligible to care.
Chris Wormald admits that the proposal was “controversial,” but he told lawmakers from the House of Parliament that it was a means of cracking down on tourist who come to use the NHS for free.
The proposed plans will require patients to provide two forms of ID cards when treatment for non-emergency is needed.
The senior civil servant accepted that his proposed plans was not part of “health service culture,”but he informed the Public Accounts Committee that passport checks were already taking place at one hospital in Peterborough which serves a high immigrant population.
“On the general question of are we looking at whether trusts should proactively ask people to prove their identity – yes we are looking at that,” Mr Wormald, a permanent secretary for the department said.
“Individual trusts like Peterborough are doing that and it is making a big difference – they are saying please come with two forms of identity, your passport and your address, and they use that to check whether people are eligible. It is quite a controversial thing to do, to say to the entire population you’ve got to prove your identity.”