Yesterday (May 21) Unite severely rebuked PM Boris Johnson’s hard-line stance not to waive the £400 NHS surcharge for overseas health and social care workers combating coronavirus describing it as ‘mean-spirited and shabby’.
Unite said hypocrisy of the prime minister was given extra piquancy as he singled out two non-UK nurses – one from New Zealand and the other from Portugal – for praise after he survived his fight with Covid-19.
The NHS fee of £400-a-year for care workers applies to those from outside the European Economic Area, regardless whether they use the NHS or not. It is set to rise to £624 in October.
But late yesterday afternoon, thanks to Unite, action the PM made an astonishing U-turn –saying the charge for overseas NHS and care workers will be removed.
The move was welcomed by Unite. “We welcome the PM’s U-turn on charging NHS migrant workers £400 a year to use health services,” commented Unite national officer for health.
“It should have never been policy for these valued workers in the first place,” she continued.
“Boris Johnson recognised that he was swimming against the tide of public opinion, including his own Tory MPs, who were horrified that those from overseas fighting coronavirus in our hospitals and care homes, many low paid, should be burdened with this outrageous surcharge.”
Williams described as a “victory for the fair mindedness of the British public who could not stomach such an unjust policy.
Unite will be monitoring the government’s actions in the coming days to see that there is no backsliding, following the prime minister’s announcement.
“There are thousands of low-paid key workers in the UK originally from overseas. They are paying their taxes and paying into our NHS. They, too, should have this immoral surcharge removed,” she concluded.
Compiled by Amanda Campbell @amanda_unite