"Healthcare professionals and activists set up an

Protesters block Department of Health over new migrant NHS rules

Campaigners blocked the entrance of the Department of Health this morning as part of ongoing protests against new NHS charging rules for migrants.

From today, anyone not entitled to free NHS care will be expected to pay up-front for treatment being accessed either in hospital or in the community.

Healthcare professionals and activists set up an 'immigration checkpoint' outside the government building to highlight the policy, which they say turns doctors into border guards.

The protest comes as a survey from the medical charity Medact Manchester found that NHS professionals have a poor understanding of the new rules. Of 198 healthcare workers asked, eight in ten could not confidently define the difference between refugees, asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers.

A cardiology trainee and member of the organisation Docs Not Cops, which staged today's protest, said:

"This culture of fear will destroy the compassionate and trusting relationship NHS workers have with patients. Silence is complicity, and as healthcare workers we cannot afford to stand by while our patients are hurting."

Another member of the group, who is also a midwife, said:

"The introduction of immigration checks has made racial profiling an NHS policy and already we are seeing an alarming number of people singled out and threatened by the institutions that are supposed to be caring for them."

Other actions will take place throughout the day including calls to the Department of Health complaints line and a social media campaign using the hashtag #PatientsNotPassports.