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Hospital charges to rise for non-EU patients (BBC News)

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Mark Platt
Member
Posts: 290
Hospital charges to rise for non-EU patients (BBC News)
Posted on: April 13 2015, 12:46 pm

Visitors from outside the EU who receive treatment in NHS hospitals in England are now being charged 150% of the cost under changes brought in to discourage "health tourism".

Non-EU citizens settling in the UK for longer than six months are also being required to pay a "health surcharge" as part of their visa applications.

The new rules from the Department of Health came into force on 6 April.

Primary care and A&E care continues to remain free.

Permanent residents of 32 European countries qualify for NHS treatment, which is then billed to their country of residence, but this new ruling applies to foreign migrants or visitors based in other countries, mainly those outside the EU.

These patients can be treated in an NHS hospital but are expected to repay the cost of most procedures afterwards.

But up to now, the DoH has only sought to reclaim the actual costs, without adding any extra charges.

The DoH hopes the changes will help it recoup up to £500m a year by 2017-18.

The charges are based on the standard tariff for a range of procedures, ranging from about £1,860 for cataract surgery to about £8,570 for a hip replacement.

Similar charges can be imposed by the NHS in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales for hospital care received by non-EU residents.

Exemptions

There will be financial sanctions for trusts which do not bill patients who should be charged

Visitors from outside the EU who receive treatment in NHS hospitals in England are now being charged 150% of the cost under changes brought in to discourage "health tourism".

Non-EU citizens settling in the UK for longer than six months are also being required to pay a "health surcharge" as part of their visa applications.

The new rules from the Department of Health came into force on 6 April.

Primary care and A&E care continues to remain free.

Permanent residents of 32 European countries qualify for NHS treatment, which is then billed to their country of residence, but this new ruling applies to foreign migrants or visitors based in other countries, mainly those outside the EU.

These patients can be treated in an NHS hospital but are expected to repay the cost of most procedures afterwards.

But up to now, the DoH has only sought to reclaim the actual costs, without adding any extra charges.

The DoH hopes the changes will help it recoup up to £500m a year by 2017-18.

The charges are based on the standard tariff for a range of procedures, ranging from about £1,860 for cataract surgery to about £8,570 for a hip replacement.

Similar charges can be imposed by the NHS in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales for hospital care received by non-EU residents.

Exemptions

Patients using hospital services have been required to show their passports and other immigration documents if their UK residence status was in doubt.

The "health surcharge" on visa applications for non-EU citizens comprises an annual fee of £200-a-year, which is reduced to £150 for students.

Certain individuals, such as Australian and New Zealand nationals, are exempt from the surcharge.

And non-EU citizens who are lawfully entitled to reside in the UK and usually live in the country will be entitled to free NHS care as they are now.

Andrew Bridgen, the Tory MP for North West Leicestershire in the last Parliament, told the Daily Mail: "This is not the International Health Service, it's the National Health Service.

"Non-UK nationals seeking medical attention should pay for their treatment.

"The NHS is funded by UK taxpayers for UK citizens and if any of us went to any of these countries we'd certainly be paying if we needed to be treated."
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Sophie Strachan
Member
Posts: 3
Re: Hospital charges to rise for non-EU patients (BBC News)
Reply #1 on: April 13 2015, 03:07 pm

Mark
 can anyone out line what this means for people living with HIV please? Also how does this affect people already in the UK but with no legal status yet?
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Juliet Bosa
Member
Posts: 21
Re: Hospital charges to rise for non-EU patients (BBC News)
Reply #2 on: April 14 2015, 08:07 am

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your artils about charges, but does this include people living with HIV.


Juliet
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Mark Platt
Member
Posts: 290
Re: Hospital charges to rise for non-EU patients (BBC News)
Reply #3 on: April 15 2015, 01:50 pm

My understanding is that HIV treatment remains free, but people who are HIV positive but not EU/UK citizens may fall foul of these new rules if seeking other treatment, especially via a hospital-based service.

The Guardian covered the story as follows:

New rules intended to cut the cost to the NHS of foreign nationals travelling to Britain to use the service mean patients could be asked to show their passport to prove they are UK residents before accessing treatment.

Guidance from the Department of Health (DoH) tells NHS trusts that “where there is uncertainty” about patients’ entitlement to free care they must ask to see credentials including passports, driving licences, bills and bank statements.

Treatment at A&E departments and GPs’ surgeries will remain free for all, the department said, and no one should be denied treatment if it is deemed to be “immediately necessary or urgent”, but patients will face questions from staff, where possible, before being admitted as an inpatient or being given an outpatient appointment.

People living in the UK for more than six months are entitled to free care, but there are fears over abuses of the system by foreign nationals travelling to the UK to use the NHS.

The rules, which came into effect on 6 April, are intended to save as much as £500m a year by 2017-18, with hospitals given the right to charge short-term visitors from outside Europe 150% of the cost of their treatment. Hospitals will also get an extra 25% in funding on top of the cost of every treatment given to a European Economic Area (EEA) migrant or visitor with a European health insurance card (EHIC).
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