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   Failed asylum seekers to be allowed to use NHS (in Wales)
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ContributorNew Jerusalem 
Last EditedNew Jerusalem  May 20, 2008 04:26pm
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MediaTV News - British Broadcasting Corporation BBC News
News DateTuesday, May 20, 2008 10:25:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionFailed asylum seekers in Wales will now be given free health care - unlike their counterparts in England.

The Department of Health in England is taking legal action to restrict free access to the NHS to this group.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said her decision was the right one and that the mark of a civilised society was how it treated the sick and dying.

But the Conservatives said while the NHS should be open to emergency cases, they opposed "health tourism".

The Tax Payers' Alliance said the system was open to abuse but the Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) welcomed the move.

Ms Hart told BBC Radio Wales it was up to the UK government how it monitored asylum seekers, but offering failed asylum seekers free NHS treatment and putting it on a legitimate footing was the "right thing to do".

She used the comparison of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

"No-one would want to see a pregnant woman turned away from hospital if they were having difficulty with the pregnancy and people are fundamentally decent and they will understand this argument," said the minister.

"I'm simply looking at the human being at the end of the chain and saying if they've got severe health problems and they require help and assistance, as a civilised country we should give it."
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