By Rachael Grealish
A statement from Downing Street has been released saying the Prime Minister has asked the Home Office and The Department for Health and Social Care to wave the healthcare surcharge for NHS staff from abroad.
The statement read: “The PM has asked the Home Office and the Department for Healthand Social Care to remove NHS and care workers from the NHS surcharge as soon as possible.
“Work by officials is now underway on how to implement the change and full details will be announced in the coming days. As the PM said in the House of Commons, he has been thinking about this a great deal.
“He been a personal beneficiary of carers from abroad and understands the difficulties faced by our amazing NHS staff.
“The purpose of the NHS surcharge is to benefit the NHS, help to care for the sick and save lives. NHS and care workers from abroad who are granted visas are doing this already by the fantastic contribution which they make.”
This U-turn comes after Boris Johnson received back lash after stating during the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) NHS staff from outside the European Economic Area would continue to have to pay for their healthcare – despite working on the frontline against COVID-19.
Boris’ backtracking on the healthcare surcharge has been welcomed by his opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, who yesterday was the one to questioned the PM on this.
Starmer tweeted in response to the news saying: “Boris Johnson is right to have u-turned and backed our proposal to remove the NHS charge for health professionals and care workers.
“This is a victory for common decency and the right thing to do. We cannot clap our carers one day and then charge them to use our NHS the next.”
Under this new policy other migrants not working for the NHS will still have to pay the surcharge which currently stands at £400 – but is due to go up to £624 in October 2020.