NACCOM has joined a campaign coordinated by Doctors of the World, Lancett Migration and the Faculty of Public Health calling for universal and equitable access to NHS services, during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.

The #HandsUp4OurHealth coalition aims raise awareness of the issues facing marginalised and at-risk communities, including migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum, have when trying to access healthcare in the UK. The campaign’s aim is for everyone in the UK to have the chance to access healthcare:

“As we face the greatest public health challenge in recent history, it’s more important than ever that everyone in our community can see a doctor or nurse when they need to. But right now, some of the most excluded and at-risk communities struggle to access NHS services, a situation that has only been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Whether we see a migrant living in fear of being deported, a sex worker facing stigma, or a person experiencing homelessness cut off by red-tape – too many people are excluded from healthcare in the UK.

The pandemic has made it clearer than ever – leaving just one of us exposed puts us all in danger. With winter around the corner, we must make sure nobody falls through the cracks.”

The three main coalition objectives are:

➡️ Suspend NHS charging during the pandemic:

Immediate suspension of the NHS charging regulations, giving everyone the chance to see a doctor or nurse when they need to. This public health change is needed urgently as charging migrants for hospital services threatens the health of both individuals and the population as a whole during the COVID-19 pandemic.

➡️ Investigate the impact of NHS charging:

Call for research and an investigation into the impact of the NHS charging regulations on individual and public health, including during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coalition partners will be invited to take part in joint action to bring about long-term reform of the charging policy.

➡️ Encourage the government to build back better:

Drive work to improve access to all NHS services for everyone living in the UK, including developing policy alternatives to the existing NHS charging regulations.

For more information on the #HandsUp4OurHealth campaign please click here.