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EEA Nationals (Health Care)

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether EEA nationals who obtain the right to reside in the UK under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 are entitled to free (a) hospital treatment and (b) general practitioner services. (100750)

Entitlement to access free national health service hospital treatment is based on whether someone is ordinarily resident in this country. Anyone who is not ordinarily resident is subject to the “National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989”, as amended. These regulations place a responsibility on NHS hospitals to establish whether a person is ordinarily resident, or exempt from charges under one of a number of exemption categories, or liable for charges.

Those European Economic Area nationals who move to the United Kingdom to take up lawful residence will be eligible for free treatment either by being considered ordinarily resident here or by being exempt from charges under the taking up permanent residence exemption category within the charging regulations.

Any person who is living in the country on a lawful and settled basis may approach a general practitioner practice near to where they are living and apply to join its list of NHS patients in the same way as anyone else in the UK.