Information for overseas patients
Are you visiting the United Kingdom? Did you know you may have to pay for hospital treatment while you are here?
NHS hospital treatment is free to people who are Ordinarily Resident in the United Kingdom. If you do not normally live here and you do not meet one of the exemptions from charges then you will have to pay for any treatment you might need. This is regardless of whether you are a British citizen, have lived or worked here in the past or have paid UK taxes/National Insurance in the past.
The Department of Health overseas visitor charging regulations require all Trusts in England to identify and charge overseas visitors for the treatment they receive.
We will ask you to provide evidence to confirm your eligibility. If we conclude that you are not entitled to free NHS hospital treatment, we are legally obliged to charge you for your treatment.
How do I prove my residency?
Everyone who attends our hospital is asked the same set of questions and depending on the answer to these questions may be asked to complete a form to determine their eligibility to NHS funded care. They will also be asked to provide documents to prove that they are ordinarily resident in the UK.
If you cannot provide documents you will be asked to pay an estimate of the proposed treatment before you have an appointment or treatment.
Maternity services, or treatment which the doctor or nurse think is immediately necessary or urgent, will not be withheld. However charges will still apply and you will receive an invoice after your treatment.
A person does not become ordinarily resident in the UK simply by:
- Having British nationality
- Holding a British passport
- Being registered with a GP
- Having an NHS number
- Owning property in the UK
- Having paid (or are currently paying) National Insurance contributions and taxes in this country.
Whether a person is ordinarily resident is a question of fact, for which a number of factors are taken into account.
What type of documents can I provide?
The following documents can be used as proof of identity; you must provide one photographic document and any other documents as proof of address:
- Current signed passport
- Biometric Residence Permit issued by the Home Office
- Valid UK photo-card driving licence
- EU or Swiss national identity photo-card
- Application Registration Card (ARC)
- Valid armed forces or police photographic identity card
The following documents can be used as proof of address. They must contain your current address and be dated within the last six months:
- Recent original utility bill i.e. gas, electric, water, landline (mobile not acceptable)
- Council Tax bill for the current year
- Bank, Building Society or Credit Union statement
- Recent original Mortgage statement from a recognised lender
- Current Council or Housing Association Tenancy Agreement or Rent book
- Notification letter from the Department for Work and Pensions confirming your National Insurance Number, entitlement to Benefits or a State Pension.
What charges am I liable for?
You will have to pay the full cost of all treatment you receive, including emergency treatment. Listed below are exceptions, which are free to everyone (except where the overseas visitor has travelled to the UK for the purpose of seeking that treatment).
- treatment given in the Emergency Department, however, emergency treatment given elsewhere in the hospital is chargeable (e.g. Intensive Care)
- diagnosis and treatment of certain infectious diseases
- diagnosis and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV
- compulsory psychiatric treatment
- family planning services
- treatment required for a physical or mental condition caused by torture, female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic violence or sexual violence
Patients living in European Economic Area (EEA) countries
If you access our services because the need arose during your visit to the UK, you will need to show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).
If you do not have these documents with you and cannot demonstrate that you have an exemption to charges you will be required to pay for your treatment and recover the costs from your ‘healthcare abroad team’ when you return home.
How can I obtain a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC)?
The onus is on the visitor to apply for a PRC and provide it to the Trust. Please go to the European Commission website and enter your search criteria, you must contact your institution and make the necessary arrangements in order to obtain your PRC. Alternatively you can download the EHIC app to your smartphone and within the “I lost my card” section, select your country and your health insurance fund contact telephone, email and website address will be made available.
Failure to pay
If you fail to pay for NHS treatment for which charges are appropriate, your future application to enter, or remain in the UK may be denied.
Necessary (non-medical) personal information may be passed via the Department of Health to the Home Office for this purpose.
Any outstanding debt that is not paid within 60 days will be passed to a debt management agency who we have instructed to collect payment on our behalf.