British expats to be hit by NHS clampdown

Published:  28 Apr at 12 PM
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British expats living in European countries such as Spain are likely to feel the full force of a proposed clampdown by the NHS.

Many UK citizens living overseas often fly back to their homeland for doctors’ appointments or procedures such as operations because of the hassle involved when dealing with local health authorities abroad, particularly concerning the seemingly endless amount of paperwork that may need to be processed.

However, the NHS has introduced new regulations, which will come into force in the coming days, stating that expats will no longer be able to nip home and take advantage of the medical facilities previously offered. As of now, NHS users will have to state where they “ordinarily reside” which will impact how they are permitted to use doctors and hospitals in the UK.

A Department of Health spokesman explained that free health treatment is offered for those who are ordinarily residents of the UK, and it not linked to nationality, national insurance contributions, payment of British taxes, having an NHS number, being registered with a GP or owning a property in Britain.

An agreement between European nations states that EU citizens must be permitted to receive healthcare in their country of residence, regardless of their citizenship or nationality.

Expats looking to have emergency treatment carried out in the UK might also be faced with heavy fines should they not have the required documents from their country of residence from now on.
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