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Overseas Patients

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements are in place within NHS hospitals to monitor whether patients from overseas are eligible for free treatment on the NHS. [126013]

Entitlement to national health service hospital treatment is based on residence in the United Kingdom. People who are not normally resident in the UK are subject to the provisions of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations, as amended, in 1991 (SI No. 438), 1994 (SI No. 1535), 2000 (SI No. 602), 2000 (SI No. 909).The regulations place a responsibility on NHS trusts to establish a patient's residence. All patients should be asked, as a routine part of the admissions procedure, about their residence in the UK. A more detailed interview follows if it appears that they may be liable to charges. The Department of Health issued guidance to the NHS on this in 1988. Updated guidance was issued on 27 July 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what entitlement overseas residents have to free NHS treatment, with particular reference to primary care. [125669]

Overseas residents visiting the United Kingdom are eligible for free emergency or immediately necessary treatment from a primary care provider. For other primary medical care general practitioners or personal medical services, providers may accept such people as registered patients or as fee paying private patients. The Government expect general practice to exercise this discretion with sensitivity and due regard to the circumstances of each case. NHS walk-in centres routinely charge overseas visitors for use of the service.