London, Dec 3 (UNI) The British government is planning to block free GP care for 600,000 illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers in its attempt to encourage them to return home.
They would be blocked from obtaining anything but emergency care in casualty departments, under the joint Home Office and Department of Health plan.
The government's review would place the onus on General Practice and Primary Health Care to find out a patient's legal status, and turn them away if they do not have the right to live here.
Critics, however, questioned the effectiveness of the ban, saying the affected would simply turn to hospitals for treatment, placing greater pressure on resources.
Tory immigration spokesperson Damian Green said the real solution was to remove people who have no right to live in this country.
''If the Government continues to allow hundreds of thousands of people to live here illegally there are inevitably going to be extra strains on the health service and all other public services,'' The Independent quoted him as saying said.
Jill Rutter of the Institute for Public Policy Research condemned the policy saying the move would lead to communal tensions and could also increase risk to public heath.
''The Government is in danger of normalising what many people will see as a breach of human rights - someone's right to basic health care provision,'' she added.