Hospitals offer care to illegal immigrants
Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 17 May 2008, 11:02
Published: 17 May 2008 11:02 GMT+02:00
Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg decided two years ago to offer and pay for healthcare to illegal immigrants and refugees in hiding. In April this year county health authorities in Skåne and Jönköping followed suit.
"It is a humanitarian issue. At the same time I believe that politicians should support hospital staff so that they do not need to do anything illegal," said Lisbeth Rydefjärd, a Christian Democrat councillor in Jönköping to DN.
Several more county health authorities would like to offer free care, DN reports.
The issue is being discussed at county councils across Sweden and many have taken the position that the need for care should always come first. Several county councils, such as Stockholm, are waiting on a national decision on the issue.
The Swedish parliament is set to rule on the issue on May 20th and is expected to confirm the current situation. Illegal immigrants, it seems, will not be given the right to receive healthcare on the same conditions as others living in Sweden.
Refugees in hiding and immigrants without documentation are currently unable to receive care without paying tens of thousands of kronor in healthcare costs.
Many do not have the possibility of funding their own healthcare.
The Local reported on May 15th that migration minister Tobias Billström was starting to back down from his position, that affording publicly-funded healthcare to immigrants lacking the proper residence permits would send "the wrong signals."
Billström recently told TV4 that pregnant women and children lacking residence permits would be offered free healthcare.
The suggestion entails providing free maternity care, care during childbirth, and health services to children.
“You can’t punish children—born or unborn—for their parents’ decision to live here in hiding,” said Billström to TV4.
The Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party have previously expressed their support to changing the law to allow for the equal treatment of all those living in Sweden, regardless of residency status.