Patients and Visitors
The National Health Service (NHS) is a residency-based healthcare system that works on the concept of ordinary residence. An overseas visitor is anyone who is not ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom (UK), and as such may be subject to charge for healthcare received during the course of a visit to the UK.
If you are visiting the UK or have been living outside the UK for more than six months, you may have to pay for NHS hospital treatment. We are obliged by law to find out if people using our services are eligible for free care, or whether we need to charge you for the treatment you receive.
If you are an overseas visitor and need access to urgent care or maternity services, we will not stop you from accessing treatment, but you may be charged for it.
Eligibility for free hospital treatment
When you qualify for free healthcare:
Should you have an S2 document, you must make advance arrangements and you will be given the same clinical priority as NHS patients, including NHS waiting times. You will need to send this document in advance to being admitted to the overseas visitors team for processing via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When you don’t qualify for free healthcare:
When you come to hospital you will be asked how long you have lived in the UK to determine if you are eligible for free healthcare. You will be asked to show documentary evidence that you are living legally in the UK, including proof of identity and proof of address.
If you are an overseas visitor, you will be asked to show evidence that you are entitled to free healthcare during your visit.
If you are a parent bringing your child to hospital, you must bring documents to show your child is legally resident in the UK. These documents can be used as proof of identity:
These documents can be used as proof of address provided they show your current address and date for the last six months:
If you cannot prove that you have lived legally in the UK for the last six months, you will be interviewed by a member of our overseas visitors team either on the ward or in an outpatient clinic.
At the interview, we will ask you questions and confirm if you need to pay for your treatment, and explain how you can pay. Should you believe you should not pay, you will need to evidence that you are eligible for free NHS care. If you are liable to pay, the cost of your treatment will be explained and we will ask you to pay before you receive treatment (if the care is non-urgent). You will be provided with a leaflet containing further information on overseas visitor charging.
If charges apply, you will be asked to sign an undertaking to pay form, which confirms your details, home address and a copy of the Trust’s overseas visitors terms and conditions.
If your interview happens after your first visit to hospital, or care is emergency or urgent, we will charge you retrospectively for your treatment.
Please note the onus is on the individual patient receiving treatment to provide appropriate documentary evidence supporting any claim to free NHS services.
Cost of treatment
As of 23 October 2017 it is a legal requirement that all patients not eligible for free NHS treatment pay the estimated full cost of their care upfront and in full before any treatment begins. Our overseas office will advise you of the estimated cost of the treatment you are going to receive.
We will not withhold any emergency treatment from you if you are unable to pay, however non-urgent care may be withheld until we receive your full payment. If you have made an initial payment towards the cost of your treatment we will confirm how much you have left to pay and provide you with a final invoice once all your hospital care has been fully updated and coded.
How to pay
You can pay for your treatment by debit or credit card via an overseas visitors officer, or in cash, at the cashiers office (level 7).
You can contact our overseas office by telephone or email. We can arrange to come and visit you on the ward or in the outpatients’ department.
Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 17.00
01752 437 055