The most effective way of campaigning against upfront charging is to build your own campaign locally. Alongside this there are a number of discrete actions you can also take:
Raise awareness of the charging policies and their discriminatory nature.
- Follow Docs Not Cops, Doctors of the World, Medact and other organisations on Twitter and Facebook, share and retweet our posts - have a look at the signposting guide for groups campaigning on charging.
- Share local stories over social media
- Use any or all of the sample tweets below, tweet at local and national politicians, NHS managers and other campaign groups to bring them into the conversation.
Raise the issue with other local campaign groups and progressive parties and unions
It is important to discuss the ‘Hostile Environment’ and its impact in public fora and amongst progressive campaign groups. You can raise the issue, pass motions, or get statements of public support from union branches, political parties and local meetings of voluntary organisations and charities. Check out the resources page for presentations, model motions and flyers.
There are also a number of campaign groups, such as Keep Our NHS Public (KONP), who work for a publicly owned and funded health system, free at the point of use. They may know the healthcare system in your area well, and can be supportive with any campaigns you are running. You can see if there is a local branch where you are by checking on their website.
Engage and Challenge Healthcare and Local Government Structures
The charging regime in the NHS, together with the broader ‘Hostile Environment’ policies, are designed to isolate and silence migrants and migrant communities. It is important to work with your communities to ensure that individual concerns and cases are raised through local structures and that the injustices are recorded by local bodies. There are also ways in which you can challenge your local GPs and Trusts to do more to support migrants accessing healthcare.
How you can do this will differ in each place, and depending on who you can work with locally, some ideas to think about are:
- Find out about groups, workshops and other public meetings designed to consult the public on healthcare provision in your area. Make sure to turn up with examples from your community (anonymised if necessary) and prepared to discuss the impact on your membership of the ‘Hostile Environment’.
- Organising meetings with your local NHS Trust or Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and inviting communities to speak about their experience accessing NHS care and ensuring their concerns are registered.
- Arrange a meeting with your local councillors and cabinet member for health to raise the issue and explore what can be done locally to challenge the policy - asking them to speak out and express their opposition to charging and the ‘Hostile Environment’