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Health Services: Overseas Visitors

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department takes in co-operation with other Government Departments to prevent misuse of NHS services by foreign nationals. (227525)

The “National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989”, as amended, place a legal duty on national health service (NHS) trusts to identify those overseas visitors who are liable for charges for hospital treatment and charge them accordingly.

Where appropriate, the Home Department provides NHS trusts with verification of an overseas visitor’s immigration status, which helps to establish liability for charges and minimise misuse of the NHS.

In conjunction with the Home Department, the Department is currently reviewing access to the NHS by foreign nationals. The review includes investigating ways in which the NHS can better protect its resources for those entitled to use them, and work more closely with the Home Department to identify those who are not.