Watching the smug faces at the Supreme Court today as they fulfilled Tony Blair’s plan for Britain to be ruled by lawyers, I was reminded of two major contributions the profession has already made to our lives, the near bankrupting of general practice and the unleashing of mass immigration.
By October last year lawyers were winning so much money from the NHS in fees and damages, the fees often hugely outweighing the damages, that GPs, who have a legal obligation pay for their malpractice insurance, were resigning in large numbers. To give the reader an idea of by how much lawyers were playing the system, a part time GP doing two surgeries a week was obliged to pay £560 pounds a month in insurance to the grasping profession.
With the prospect of premiums doubling or trebling the GP’s insurers threw in the towel forcing the government to take pick up an Everest sized bill. It means longer waiting lists and less treatment but it will not stop lawyers feeding on a banquet of public money. There are plenty of lawyers in the House of Commons who will see to that.
Meanwhile those of you who have waited patiently in line at doctors’ surgeries or hospital outpatients behind people who have no apparent connection whatsoever with Britain, but are being treated free gratis and for nothing, might wonder how this came about. Enter m’learned friends once more.
Several years ago the Department of Health, following a lawsuit brought by an immigrant claiming his human rights were violated by being asked for evidence of his eligibility for NHS treatment, issued instructions to GPs that they were under no circumstances to ask for any identity documents from patients. Doctors have not helped; the BMA, about as left wing as a rail union on continuous strike, has consistently urged successive governments to treat the NHS as the IHS (International Health Service) by not asking any questions of foreign patients even if they drive up in a Rolls Royce.
The huge numbers of ineligible claimants involved can also be laid at the door of lawyers. Over the last three decades, provided you can get yourself in front of an immigration adjudicator along with a state funded lawyer, (many migrants have no difficulty paying £4000 for a channel crossing and often pay for a private brief – up to £450 an hour) you can be pretty certain of a favourable outcome to your appeal to stay. If not, nobody will stop you leaving the court and vanishing. Nor is there anything to prevent you turning up later for expensive surgery or medical care,even if you shouldn’t be here. Doctors are told not to check.
One cannot help feeling that the immigration appeal service is designed as a lawyer’s carousel going round and round spilling money into immigration briefs’ pockets. Appeals, counter appeals, re-appeals, rulings, re-freshers, counter rulings, fund this gigantic cash machine.
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