Boris Johnson gives in to pressure over surcharge for migrant health workers

Published on May 22, 2020 by

NHS staff and care workers who come from outside the EU will not have to pay a surcharge for the right to use the health service. Barely 24 hours after the Prime Minister told MPs that the fee had to stay, the policy was abruptly reversed.

A group of Conservative MPs had joined opposition parties in calling for the 400-pound a year surcharge to be dropped. Boris Johnson, who’s acknowledged that he owes his life to NHS staff from overseas, had said yesterday it would be “very difficult” to find alternative sources of income.

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, who had pressed the Prime Minister to abandon the charge, said the about-turn was a “victory for common decency”.

Meanwhile the first test in the UK for coronavirus antibodies is to be made available from next week. Health and care workers in England, along with hospital patients and care home residents throughout the UK, will be among the first to be tested, to establish whether they have already had the virus.

Huw Edwards presents BBC News at Ten reports from Political Correspondent Jessica Parker and Health Editor Hugh Pym

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