After spending £5 billion on a controversial national ID card scheme that was eventually scrapped, it appears that ID cards could be making a come back.
This time under the guise of stamping out ’benefits tourism’ in the NHS, ID cards could be used introduced via the back door to restrict access to free healthcare for immigrants who have been in the UK for less than a year.
According to the Daily Mail, a source close to Mr Hunt said there was concern that the NHS was being exploited by:
“More and more people from overseas, putting a strain on services.
“The National Health Service is becoming the global health service,’ the source said. ‘We are looking at the way in which services are open to people. You have to be ordinarily resident to access healthcare.
“We have to have a look at that and whether there is a prospect of changing that. We are looking in a bit more detail at the contributions you need [to have paid] to be entitled to free healthcare.”
In 2008 at the peak of the ID card debate, 25% of Brits were strongly opposed and civil liberties campaigners will not allow the introduction of the cards without a fight.
London radio show host, Duncan Barkes, also slammed the idea:
“I think the idea is an atrocity. I’m very hacked off. I believe as soon as you put that card around your neck you loose a little bit of your civil liberty.
“I do think the government needs to do something about health tourism but in my opinion this is not the answer because it puts the onus of responsibility on us to have to prove our own identity.”