Health tourism cost UK nearly £6bn in eight years

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Britain has lost more than £6 billion in the past eight years treating foreigners from the European Union in UK hospitals, new Government figures reveal, The Telegraph reports.

The UK paid out £6.2billion to EU countries to cover the treatment of Britons in their hospitals last year – but received only £405million in return from EU countries for treating ill foreigners in the National Health Service.

The deficit works out at £723million a year or £2million a day, a figure described by J Meirion Thomas, a hospital consultant who blew the whistle on health tourism, as “staggering”.

The deficit would be enough to pay the salaries of an additional 2,638 GPs, or abolish prescription charges for everyone in England.

In 2014 there were 23 million visits by EU citizens to the UK, and 44million visits by Britons to the EU, although there are twice as many EU nationals – 2.7million – in the UK, as in the EU – 1.1million people.

Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP and Vote Leave chairman, said: “The UK has been getting short changed by the EU for years. We hand over £350 million to Brussels every week but get less than half of that back – with strings attached.

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