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Diplomats (Medical Treatment)

Volume 984: debated on Tuesday 6 May 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether free medical treatment and education are made available to any foreign diplomats resident in the United Kingdom.

Foreign diplomats who are in post in the United Kingdom are eligible for National Health Service facilities on the same basis as other people ordinarily resident in this country. This also applies to members of their families who accompany them, but it does not extend to any dependants who might come to the United Kingdom specifically for treatment or to staff who might be posted to the United Kingdom for the same purpose.If a foreign diplomatic wishes his child to attend a maintained school—at which no fees are chargeable—this would normally be possible: but for higher and further education establishments tuition fees must be paid.

asked the Lord Privy Seal which countries afford to United Kingdom diplomats the provision of free medical treatment and education.

Under the terms of the relevant social security conventions, diplomatic service staff are eligible for free medical treatment in Bulgaria and Romania: and for limited free treatment in European Community countries and in Austria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary. New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, the U. S. S. R. and Yugoslavia. The terms of the conventions with Finland, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Turkey exclude diplomatic service staff, who are therefore not entitled to free treatment in these countries, or in other countries with which the United Kingdom has no Convention.I do not have full information about which countries provide free education for members of the diplomatic service. Eligibility depends on local practice and legislation rather than on inter-Governmental agreements. Factors such as language, curriculum and ideology necessarily influence the extent to which facilities for free education can be used in practice.