Bishop Paul McAleenan, the lead Catholic Bishop for Asylum and Migration has called on the government to suspend and review its recent extension of charges for non UK-citizens receiving NHS treatment.
On Thursday 16 November the House of Lords will debate the changes, in light of concerns from charities and healthcare professionals that they will prevent vulnerable people from receiving medical treatment and have been introduced without sufficient impact assessments.
Speaking ahead of the debate Bishop McAleenan stated: "The level of concern expressed by medical professionals and charities, including several Catholic organisations, reflects how catastrophic the consequences of these new regulations are likely to be.
Our society can be measured by how we treat the most vulnerable. Deterring people from seeking healthcare or denying them treatment is undignified and unjust.
Furthermore those working on the frontline have indicated that these measures are actually likely to place greater burdens on NHS staff and increase pressure on an already struggling system.
I hope that at the very least these changes will be suspended so that a proper assessment of their impact can be undertaken. It is also imperative the charges are not further extended to encompass GP or emergency care."