Tourists and expats forced to pay 150 per cent upfront for access to Britain’s NHS

Published:  6 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Citizenship, England
It’s bad news for expats and visitors to the UK, as they’ll be forced to pay upfront for any NHS service and will be charged 150 per cent of the estimated bill.

Those affected will be expatriate workers and tourists who aren’t entitled to free healthcare, with the new rules aimed at putting a stop to medical tourism. Those attending NHS hospitals will be forced to show identification entitling them to free care across the NHS,'s hospitals, NHS-funded charities, doctors and community health councils. If there’s no proof of entitlement or the case is an emergency, hospital staff will demand an upfront fee of 150 per cent of the full, estimated cost.

Doctors are now up in arms over the new rules, saying those with serious illnesses won’t seek essential treatment and may die as a result, and also stating the change may well cause totals of untreated infectious diseases to soar. The NHS has already been charging expats and visitors as well as UK citizens living overseas and forced to return home for medical care, but bills are sent out after treatment, with many remaining unpaid.

According to the Department of Health, the charges will be levied on planned treatment with no-one denied emergency care whatever their status, adding that certain services will be billed after the patient leaves the hospital. However, medical professionals are reluctant to back the scheme, as it doesn’t explain to hospital administrators exactly who must pay and who is entitled to free treatment. One survey taken in the North West showed NHS staff are confused as to whether refugees, asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers are liable for 150 per cent of the costs of their treatment in advance. Also, previous research is claiming patients are regularly either wrongly charged or charged for procedures listed as free. Also, the new rules don’t make clear whether or not emergency patients unable to afford to pay in advance will be refused treatment/
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