The right of everyone to ‘the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health’ is enshrined within the 1966 UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) placing both a moral and a legal imperative on the UK to produce policies that do not infringe on the rights of all those that live within its borders. Furthermore, there is a clear clinical and public health rationale for ensuring that all healthcare policies should look to tackle health inequalities and improve access to healthcare for all.
For these reasons and more, Medact firmly believes that healthcare should be freely accessible for all who need it on ethical, humanitarian, public health and economic grounds.
Alongside our Refugee Solidarity Group, we conduct research and campaigns on issues such as: barriers to accessing healthcare in the UK due to immigration status; immigration detention; and the impacts of migration and borders on health.
“One of the consequences of the universality of the British Health Service is the free treatment of foreign visitors. This has given rise to a great deal of criticism, most of it ill informed and some of it deliberately mischievous…The whole agitation has a nasty taste. Instead of rejoicing at the opportunity to practice a civilized principle, [some] have tried to exploit the most disreputable emotions in this among many other attempts to discredit socialized medicine.”
Aneurin Bevan, 1952, In Place of Fear