Staff from NHS hospitals in Merseyside delivered a petition on June 17 calling on Merseyside NHS Trusts to stop charging migrants for healthcare. Staff and campaigners have also produced a short video online.

“We are not immigration officers,” says Consultant Microbiologist Dr Jonathan Folb in a letter for the campaign, “we are trained to treat patients, but the Hostile Environment is interfering with our work to deliver care.”

Merseyside Action for Migrant Healthcare has won support from Liverpool MPs Kim Johnson, Dan Carden, Paula Barker and Ian Byrne. The petition has been signed by staff and hundreds of Liverpool residents.,

Although COVID-19 testing and treatment is free, the test can fail to detect the disease, and patients may have other health problems whose treatment is not free.

Long before COVID-19, women were missing antenatal appointments to avoid being charged or reported to the Home Office.

This call for action on migrant health comes amid national controversy over disproportionate deaths from COVID-19 amongst BAME communities in the UK and widespread anti-racist protests as part of the international Black Lives Matter movement.

Infectious Diseases Registrar Dr Chinenye Ilozue said: “We are asking NHS Trusts on Merseyside to do the right thing.”

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