Guest columnist: Why aren’t the Government getting us our money back?

John Mann MP
John Mann MP
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Last year I forced the Government to admit it was failing to claim back the costs of NHS care for patients who were visiting this country from abroad.

While we paid Ireland more than £215 million in one year, we claimed only £19 million back.

This week, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that he is giving up on getting this money back.

This is unacceptable.

It is a failure that’s costing us hundreds of millions of pounds each year and is a scandal that must not be brushed under the carpet.

Jeremy Hunt blamed Brexit for his inability to sort the system out, but this is simply not the case.

When we leave the EU these agreements will still be in place.

Each hospital will continue to lose millions of pounds a year.

Solving this is straightforward now that checks on citizenship are done as part of the electoral registration process, it is simple to identify who is not a British citizen.

I have asked our local hospital and the Government how much they are claiming back – and if they are not claiming the full costs back, why not?

How much was reclaimed in health costs from foreign governments in each of the last three years by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital NHS Trust?

It is not the individual patient who has to pay, it is their government.

This should be the priority, instead of closing Bassetlaw Hospital’s children’s ward to overnight admissions and other facilities.

I have secured a debate in the House of Commons next Monday on the future of our local hospital .

The debate will focus on different problems and challenges that the hospital faces, including the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which in its current form will lead to cuts to NHS services in our area.

Many of the STPs in England are written by management consultants who have no clue about our area.

Far too much money has already been wasted at a time when our frontline NHS staff need more support.

Our NHS must keep at its heart the needs of local people and not simply written away by people who just see figures and not people when they make proposals.

My debate in Parliament will also highlight the shocking closure of the children’s ward at Bassetlaw Hospital .

Last weekend local people were out collecting signatures against the closure.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign so far.

Please email me at mannj@parliament.uk or call 01909 506200 to support the campaign.

This week I met with local parents who are already being affected by the closure.

They know how dangerous this closure will be and I again urge the board of the hospital to overturn this decision – or do the decent thing and resign.