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House of Commons Hansard
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Health Services: Isle of Man
01 March 2010
Volume 506
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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions he has had with his counterpart in (a) Scotland, (b) Northern Ireland and (c) Wales on the modalities of and method for (i) recording and (ii) collecting charges from visitors from the Isle of Man who are detained and in receipt of emergency treatment in hospitals in (A) England, (B) Scotland, (C) Wales and (D) Northern Ireland consequent on the cancellation of the reciprocal health agreement between the Isle of Man and each UK health service with effect from 1 April 2010; and if he will make a statement; [319357]

(2) by what means he proposes to identify those visitors from the Isle of Man who are exempt from charges by virtue of (a) being in receipt of a UK state pension and having lived in the UK for 10 continuous years, (b) being a spouse or civil partner visiting the UK with an exempt UK state pensioner and (c) being a child visiting the UK with an exempt UK state pensioner following the cancellation of the reciprocal health agreement; and if he will make a statement;

(3) by what means it is proposed to (a) identify and (b) collect charges from visitors from the Isle of Man who are hospitalised whilst in the UK following the cancellation of the reciprocal health agreement on 1 April 2010; and if he will make a statement.

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Under the national heath service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989, as amended, trusts have a legal duty to identify and charge those overseas visitors to the United Kingdom who are not exempt from charges, and to make and recover from them charges for their treatment.

The Department has produced comprehensive guidance for the NHS to use when implementing these regulations, and most trusts have an Overseas Visitors Manager in post to oversee this. Trusts are advised to ask baseline questions to each patient to quickly identify if they have not lived lawfully in the UK for the past 12 months, and if they have not, to then interview them to establish if charges apply. It is a matter for individual trusts how they collect any charges that are due. The Department is contacting every trust informing them of the need to treat residents of the Isle of Man as overseas visitors from 1 April 2010 following the termination of the reciprocal healthcare agreement.

Following discussions with departmental officials, the Devolved Administrations are putting in place their own arrangements in order to inform their organisations of the changing circumstances.