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NHS: Fees and Charges

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 10 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of people who were not eligible for free NHS treatment but who received free NHS services in (a) Southend Primary Care Trust, (b) Essex and (c) England in each year since 1997; and what estimate he has made of the costs of providing such services in each area in each year. (241162)

National health service hospital treatment is only provided free of charge to those people who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom or who are exempt from charges under the provisions of the “National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989”, as amended. Hospitals have a duty to identify those who are not entitled to free treatment, charge them for that treatment and, where possible, to recover the costs of treating them if treatment has had to be provided to them urgently.

Successive Governments have not required the national health service to provide statistics on the number of overseas visitors seen, treated or charged under the provisions of the charging regulations nor any costs involved. Therefore, it is not possible to provide this information.