Department of Health respond to our query about short consultation times

news in brief imageCompact Voice recently wrote to the Department of Health querying the short timeframe for their consultation into migrant access to the NHS. We asked for clarification about the process of engagement after concerns were raised by one of our members.

The response from the Department of Health is below:

"We realise that the timing of the consultation is not ideal. We were constrained in this by the fact that some of the proposals in the consultation, specifically the health levy, would need to be enacted through the forthcoming Immigration Bill. As a result it was necessary that our consultation ran on a parallel timetable with the related Home Office consultation, details of which can be found at:
To mitigate any potential negative impact of a shorter consultation, we are contacting the key stakeholders directly and arranging to meet them to talk through the consultation and its proposals and answer immediate questions, which we hope will facilitate the process of developing written responses within a shorter time. 

We are keen to speak to any group who wish to express their views to us directly, in addition to responding to the consultation. We fully recognise that detailed engagement with the NHS will be necessary to develop the detail of any proposals. As such, we intend this detailed development work to continue after the end of the public consultation.
We have not been able to undertake a full impact assessment at this point because the full scope of information and evidence is not yet available (a decision which was taken following a meeting with the DH Impact Assessment Peer Review Panel). This is why we have commissioned an independent professional ‘audit’ of NHS use by visitors and temporary migrants. The audit will use information gathered directly from staff on the frontline to estimate the scale of the challenge and the size of the financial burden. It will report in September and will inform final policy decisions and feed directly into the impact assessment that we publish alongside our response to the consultation. We are also using the consultation process, and particularly the engagement with the NHS on potential new system design, to determine the costs of administering charges more extensively and effectively. In addition to this we are actively seeking views on the proposals as part of the engagement process and asking participants to give us any evidence that they are aware of to develop the Impact Assessment. 
Whilst a full impact assessment has not been possible, we have provided the information that we do have at this stage – we published a summary of the evidence available to support the consultation, as well as a summary of the comprehensive review on migrant access to healthcare which the Department did in 2012.
Final approval of proposals post consultation will be is subject to the publication of an approved full Impact Assessment."

Read more about the consultation at:

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