UK migrant healthcare plans could jeopardise early HIV detection efforts, says HIV Scotland

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Monday 26th August 2013

In a joint response to the UK Home Office's recent consultation, HIV Scotland and Waverley Care have raised their concerns about the impact of plans to regulate the access of migrants to health services across the UK.

Aidan Collins, HIV Scotland Head of Policy and Campaigning said: "Migrant populations represent a significant proportion of reported cases of HIV in the UK.

"The UK Government says it plans to exempt sexually transmitted diseases from the new regulations so migrants won't be charged for receiving treatment for them, but the proposals will still create additional barriers for migrants accessing primary care services more generally. This will significantly hinder efforts to increase the early detection of HIV amongst this population.

"We are also deeply concerned that these proposals could undermine current attempts to improve the delivery of health and social care in Scotland. Enforcing one set of regulations consistently across the UK may well prove difficult given health is a devolved issue in Scotland.

"The differences between the aims of UK and Scottish policy in relation to immigration must also be recognised. In Scotland, the current policy is to attract immigrants in order to address pressing demographic and economic needs. As this is the case, we have a corresponding responsibility to ensure that migrants within Scotland are easily able access safe and effective healthcare."

Read our full response [PDF - 572kB] and the original Home Office consultation, or contact our policy team for more information.