His comments were echoed by Ukip’s MEP Mike Hookem who lambasted Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for failing to “safeguard against abuse of the NHS”.
Fury has erupted after it emerged the UK pays out £675million for the care of Britons in Europe, while it gets back less than £50m back for the costs of treating European patients
The NHS is facing calls to clamp down on the so-called health tourism sham
Despite being a migration magnet, the UK pays five times as much to other EU countries as it receives
He said: ”Despite being a migration magnet, the UK pays five times as much to other EU countries as it receives. This is because most European migrants have no ‘home’ Ehic card, being unemployed and not contributing to their domestic health system.
“On arrival in UK, they are ‘ordinarily resident’ and entitled to any healthcare they need.”
According to the Government, deliberate health tourism costs the UK taxpayer between £110m and £280m a year.
Latest figures suggest around 50,000 women a year giving birth in NHS maternity hospitals are temporary migrants or visitors.
Writing for his latest blog on The Spectator, Professor Thomas said: “Jeremy Hunt’s failing plan to recover the expense of health tourism needs urgent revision, preferably with abolition of the costly Immigration Health Surcharge.
The NHS is said to be creaking under the crisis
“Is it so hard to ask patients turning up for non-urgent care to bring proof of identity in the form of a passport along with a recent utility bill?”
This week it emerged pregnant women will be forced to show their passport and utility bills at hospitals as part of pilot scheme at hospitals such as St George’s, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea as well as Guy’s and St Thomas.
The move comes after the case of the Nigerian woman, simply known as ‘Priscilla’, who racked up a bill of £500,000 after she gave birth to quadruplets who then needed intensive care.
The NHS will now ask pregnant women to see their ID
The children were born three months prematurely at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea with two of her children dying shortly afterwards.
But Mr Hookem said the new laws surrounding the proof of identity was not enough.
He told Express.co.uk: “The fact is, it’s time for radical thinking. It’s time for a government that will show some backbone and tackle this growing problem once and for all.
“The showing of ID to gain access to care is a start, but we need a system of health insurance for travellers and migrants that will adequately compensate the NHS for the care provided. Until that time, the British public will continue picking up the ever-increasing tab for health tourism.
Around 50,000 women a year giving birth in NHS maternity hospitals are migrants
Mr Hookem added: “For years, it has been obvious that people from across the globe have targeted our NHS to gain access to free health care they are not entitled to.
“This is nothing less than fraud committed against the British taxpayer and must be stopped is we are to have any chance of getting the spiralling costs of the NHS under control.
“The NHS is a national, not international health service. We therefore need to put in place measures that will safeguard against abuse of the NHS by both individuals and criminal gangs.”