Overseas visitors

If you are a visitor to the United Kingdom, you may need to pay for your NHS treatment. We will need evidence to determine if you need to pay for your treatment. If you are a non UK resident your care will not be free and will need to be funded by either your country of origin, your insurance company or by you. Visitors who are ordinarily resident in the UK or who fall within certain exemption categories will not need to pay.

It is your responsibility to prove that you are entitled to free NHS treatment. If you do not provide satisfactory evidence to support your claim, you will be liable for the cost of any treatment provided to you now or in the future. 

If your doctor considers that the treatment you need is immediately necessary or urgent you will be treated straight away or as soon as possible based on your clinical need. You will still be required to pay during or after you have received this treatment. If you are seeking treatment that is neither immediately necessary nor urgent, you will have to pay the full cost in advance. For further information regarding the current regulations for overseas visitors, please see the Gov.uk website.

Important information about maternity/antenatal appointments

From 31 July 2017, all women attending maternity/antenatal services as non-emergency patients for their first appointment are asked to provide two forms of identification, in line with new Department of Health regulations

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are travelling from a European country to the UK you will need to show a valid EHIC otherwise you will have to pay for your care directly. You will also be asked to provide the following documents:

  • a copy of your passport
  • your full address abroad

This card must be produced (or a replacement card) prior to discharge from hospital or you will be liable to pay all fees associated with your care and claim your care back through your home country. 

Please note that your EHIC does not apply if you are having elective planned treatment or treatment that can be carried out in your country of origin.

Patients from countries with reciprocal or bilateral arrangements with the UK for healthcare

The UK has reciprocal healthcare agreements with some non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries. Overseas visitors who can present evidence that they are nationals, citizens or lawful residents of one of these countries should be treated as exempt from charges in respect of treatment that the relevant agreement entitles them to.Please note that reciprocal and bilateral agreements do not apply if you are having elective planned treatment or treatment that can be carried out in your country of origin. 

Patients directly liable for charges

The Charging Regulations place a legal obligation on NHS trusts, to establish whether a person is an overseas visitor to whom charges apply, or whether they are exempt from charges. We will interview you to understand if you are liable for charges associated with receiving NHS care and will also ask you to provide documents to prove your entitlement. We will provide you with an estimated cost for treatment you receive which is based on NHS Tariffs applied throughout the UK. The full estimated cost of all treatment must be paid in full before or on the day of discharge from hospital. We will not be able to quote an exact price for your care until you have been discharged, where upon all of your treatment will have been updated on the hospital system. We will then send you an invoice for the complete package of care, minus any deposits you have paid.

Insurance

If you are liable for the charges associated with your care you may choose to use your travel insurance or health insurance to fund your care. If you have insurance cover, it is your responsibility to contact the company to gain a 'Letter of Guarantee' and authorisation numbers from your insurers authorising your treatment. 

Working in collaboration with UK Border Agency

You should be aware that under immigration rules 320, 321, 321A and 322, a person with outstanding debts of over £500 for NHS treatment that are not paid within three months of invoicing, may be denied a further immigration application to enter or remain in the UK. In the absence of prompt full settlement or a reasonable repayment schedule, non-clinical information relating to this debt is provided routinely to the Home Office and may be used by the Home Office to apply the above immigration rules. The information will remain active for the purpose of the above rules until the debt is settled and a record of the settled debt will also be retained, both subject to normal limitation periods. 

Contact

Our Overseas Department for both of our hospitals is based at our Chelsea and Westminster site on the 4th Floor, Lift Bank D.

T: 020 3315 8483
F: 020 3315 8435
E: overseasdepartment@chelwest.nhs.uk

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